The Builder Magazine
August 1927 - Volume XIII - Number 8
Frederick and the Facts
By BRO. CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, California
THE recent reply of Bro. A. L. Kress, of Pennsylvania, in THE BUILDER for
February to my setting forth of the facts that showed that Frederick the Great, King of
Prussia, was the head of what is now the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, seems
to me to be decidedly weak.
The fact that three of the subordinate bodies of this organization officially recognized
that the official headquarters of their Order was in Berlin, Prussia, and that the Master
of one of these Lodges of Perfection addressed Frederick as its head, by name, on
official business of the Order to which his lodge belonged, does not seem to convince
It makes one think that people believe only what they want to believe, no matter what
the evidence may be.
He does not deny these facts. He cannot. He does not try to do so, but seeks to
minimize the weight of the evidence. He says that he does not know if Frederick was
its head, but he suspects he was not.
In this, his suspicions are contrary to what Colonel Solomon Bush, the Master of
Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, knew when he said that Frederick was the head of
the Order of which that Lodge of Perfection was a part.
Bro. Kress became unduly exercised because I said it made no difference whether
there was a reply. Quite evidently he, like many others who seek to tear down
traditions, did not consider the matter in all its bearings.
The letter which Col. Bush signed was not a personal letter, but one prepared by a
committee of that lodge in 1785, about a year before Frederick died. It was made part
of the official business of the lodge and was copied into the records and made a part
of the official records of Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection.
Therein it is different from a personal letter which would seem to require an answer to
show that it had been sent and received. These official records of the Lodge of
Perfection are generally accepted as genuine by all Masonic writers, but Bro. Kress
does not consider them evidence, although the lodge at the time was transmitting to
its official head, Frederick II, King of Prussia, a list of its members, as the letter says,
and as the rules require, as stated in the letter copied into the record-book, which is
now in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
What rules are referred to? It is evident to anyone acquainted with lodge work that it
was the rules of the Order to which this Lodge of Perfection belonged, and the head
of which was the one to whom the letter was addressed, that is, Frederick the Great.
It is not only Colonel Bush, who signed the letter, but the whole lodge itself asserted
that Frederick II, King of Prussia, was the head of the Order to which the Philadelphia
Lodge of Perfection belonged when it made this assertion a part of the official records
of the lodge.
This written assertion on the part of the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, now in its
records, that Frederick the Great was the head of the Order to which the lodge
belonged, requires equally definite and positive evidence in writing to the contrary, to
contradict it. Such are the rules of evidence. The negative evidence must be equally
THE OPINION OF ALBERT PIKE
It would hardly seem that Bro. Kress is better qualified to judge as to the value of the
evidence that Frederick was the head of the Order and signed the Constitutions of
1786 than Albert Pike, who was a great lawyer, admitted to practice in the Supreme
Court of the United States, where he won a big lawsuit with a $5,000,000 verdict in
favor of his clients. In his "Historical Inquiry" Pike said, on page 127:
But we now believe that they were made at Berlin, under the auspices of Frederic in
May, 1786, and that he was the Patron and Protector of the high degrees, and did
approve these Grand Constitutions.
In his Preface, Pike also said:
As the authenticity of the Grand Constitutions of 1786 continues to be denied, upon
the same old, untenable and exploded grounds, it is deemed advisable to print and
publish this Inquiry for more general circulation.
It is because Lantoine denied the authenticity of these Constitutions in his recent
history, on the "same old, untenable and exploded grounds," that this discussion
started. Had this pamphlet, Pike's "Historical Inquiry," been reprinted and placed in
the library of every Lodge of Perfection in the land, these attacks would not be made
now, as the members of the Order would know their fallacy.
But this official written evidence in the records of the Philadelphia Lodge of
Perfection is not considered proof by Bro. Kress, who will, however, accept that
written assertion of Elias Ashmole, an individual, in his diary, that he was made a
Mason in 1646. Yet no doubt he would not accept a similar entry in the diary of the
Baron von Hund that he was given the higher degrees, now called Scottish, by the
Earl of Kilmarnock, Grand Master of Scotland, about 1742, and which Scottish
degrees he afterwards introduced into Germany as the Rite of Strict Observance.
The kind of research I object to is outlined in the above statement. Because one
statement in a private diary is accepted by Gould and a few others who set themselves
up as the last word in Masonic research, they are blindly accepted in America by
those who, on the other hand, take delight in tearing down all traditions, instead of
examining them with care to see if there is a reasonable possibility of their being true.
Troy (like Frederick's connection with this Order) was regarded as a fable by writers
who admitted they knew it all (like some of the authorities of Bro. Kress) until Dr.
Schliemann dug down into it and not only found one, but five other cities, one
superimposed on the other, the same as we find successive deposits of thought and
myth in our Blue Lodge ritual.
Before this, I have taken no exception to Bro. Kress' "brand of research," as he termed
it, only poked a little fun at it, as not presenting any.
THE SHEEPWALKING SCHOOL OF RESEARCH
Enoch T. Carson, in the American edition of Gould's History of Freemasonry, wrote a
chapter on the history of the Scottish Rite in which he calls some alleged Masonic
historians "sheep walkers," because they are like sheep, following their leader and
repeating the same incorrect statements others have made. It is the fad nowadays to
write a history with a number of figures referring to foot-notes which merely repeat
statements made by others that sometimes have no foundation in fact. A celebrated
English historian said his pages were unmarred by footnotes.
Bro. Kress has been prone to follow what Gould and others of his school have said,
and thinks because they said it, that it must necessarily be true. That was the
distinction that he seemed unable to get from my former articles.
But I am pleased to see that he is reforming in this respect, and even dares to question
his authority, as witness the letter from him and reply of Lantoine in "Le
Symbolisme" for February. But if the latter is no more accurate in his facts than he is
in spelling the name of the writer, which he took from the printed page, too, and made
it Vuillard for Willard, then Bro. Kress should seek some more confirmatory
Taking Bro. Kress' own line of argument as regards Frederick being the head of the
Order, that was turned into the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite by the
Constitutions of 1786, 1 might say that I do not know that Bro. Kress is a Mason.
Until facts are presented to show that he is, the story must be rejected. Just as he says
about Frederick: "It is clear that he must be held not to be unless positive proof is
shown that he is." This is a reductio ad absurdain and shows up the fallacy of his
While I am willing to joke and give and take in a discussion, always trying to conduct
it in the pleasantest spirit possible, yet I would submit to Bro. Kress that it is not
Masonic to put words in my mouth which I did not use, neither is it accurate.
FREDERICK'S PHYSICAL CONDITION IN 1786
On page 42 of THE BUILDER of February, he says: "Suppose we accept Bro.
Willard's data that Frederick so far as his physical condition (sic) could have presided
over a convention to prepare the 1786 Constitutions," etc. Will Bro. Kress kindly give
page and line where I have ever said anything about Frederick presiding over a
One page 8, Vol. I, of Mirabeau's Histoire secrete de la cour de Berlin, under date of
July 14, or about a month before Frederick's death, Mirabeau said:
Les partis sont tres en activite a Berlin-mais tout se tait devant le Roi; il est encore
Roi, il le sera jusqu 'au bout.
This, in English, is:
Parties are very much in activity at Berlin— but all keep silent before the King: he is
still King, he will be such until the end.
This is the best characterization of Frederick that could be made. He was the King at
Berlin at all times, and when the lodges of America were ordered to send the list of
their members to Berlin, he knew who they were. While he lived, he was the whole
thing at Berlin.
It seems curious to see Bro. Kress calmly ignoring the facts of Masonic life by
attempting to rule out competent and corroborative evidence on the ground that it is
hearsay evidence when they are broad and definite statements, made by careful
Masonic historians, of their own knowledge.
I refer to the statements made by Mackey and particularly those made of his own
knowledge by Rev. John Dove who wrote a history of Masonry in Virginia and knew
personally some of the Deputy Inspector Generals like Joseph Myers and Isaac Da
Costa. Bro. Dove said they were educated men who were sent by Frederick of Prussia
to spread the doctrines of the higher degrees, of which Dove was a member. If Bro.
Kress will look again into the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts he
will see that he was inaccurate in his quotation, for Isaac Da Costa was quoted long
before the date he alleged (1760), as he will see on Oct. 13, 1759, on pages 439 and
440. Also he was the first named on the petition for the warrant of St. Andrew's
Lodge, of Boston, in 1756. 1 only mention these things in the interest of accuracy.
I have Lantoine's History of French Freemasonry and have read it carefully. To my
mind he is like Carlyle, a word-painter and not an historian. My assertion is that
Lantoine is not impartial, and my assertion is as good as that of Bro. Kress to the
The assertion of Bro. Kress that I have presented no new facts and shown no personal
research, seems to be negatived by the hours I have spent examining charters, fac-
similes, etc., and the fact that I have given more research to the early history of the
Scottish Rite than he has ever done. But I will agree with him that my article shows
no research, if he will point out anywhere in Masonic literature where these three
official statements, each corroborating the other, that the headquarters of the Rite was
at Berlin, Prussia, have been assembled together.
THE PRUSSIAN COMMISSIONERS
The fact that the Nine Commissioners are stated officially, by Stephen Morin, in the
charter of the Kingston, Jamaica, Chapter of Princes of the Royal Secret, to be in
charge in Prussia, does not seem to affect Bro. Kress. What are official documents
compared to one's cherished beliefs? Like some attorneys who object to all evidence
against them as "immaterial, irrelevant and incompetent," this does not seem to faze
After reading Mirabeau's Secret History of the Court of Berlin, in the original French,
published in 1789, 1 am wondering how anyone could quote Mirabeau as Lantoine
did in his history, the review of which started the original discussion. It is beyond me
how Lantoine would dare to do so, and I can only think it was because he was
"sleepwalking" and quoting what someone else had said. He probably never went to
the original sources. It shows that all the statements of Lantoine need verifying, and I
am glad to see that Bro. Kress is beginning to see the need of this, as his letter in "Le
Symbolisme" tends to show.
These volumes of Mirabeau also show that up to 15 days before Frederick died, he
could have signed these Constitutions had he not done so three months before. On
page 75, Vol. I, Mirabeau said, on Aug. 2, 1786, "The king is sensibly better" (Le roi
ist sensiblement mieux). At the end of the same letter he says: "For the rest the head is
perfectly clear and he even works a great deal." Au reste, la tete est parfaitement libre,
& Ton travaille meme beaucoup.)
On the day before he died Mirabeau says (page 91, Vol. I):
I know that the day before he had not spoken until midday to the secretaries who had
been waiting since five o'clock in the morning, but nevertheless the despatches have
been clear and precise; that he had again eaten excessively that day and notably a
lobster! (Je savois— que la veille— qu'on n'avoit parle qu'a midi aux secretaires qui
attendoient depuis cinq heures de matin, que cependant les depeches avoient ete
nettes & precies; que Ton avoit encore excessivement mange ce jour-la & notamment
un homard. )
This shows that he could even have signed these Constitutions of 1786 on Aug. 16,
the day before he died, as he did the despatches which he dictated and which were
"clear and precise." Pike gives many others who said practically the same thing.
It is apparent that, despite the assertion of Lantoine to the contrary, Frederick could
have signed the Constitutions of 1786 on May 1.
The charter of the Kingston Chapter, P. R. S., says that the Nine Commissioners did
prepare the Constitutions of 1762, although Gould makes the downright charge that
they were forged in America. But this charter of the Kingston body, signed on April
30, 1770, only eight years later, by Stephen Morin himself, says that the Constitutions
of 1762 were ratified in Prussia at a different date than that given by any Masonic
historian. It says, in English:
Consequently by the deliberation dated the 7th of December, 1762, to be ratified and
observed by the aforesaid Grand Chapter of Prussia and France, etc.
This Kingston charter is quoted as being in his collection by Enoch T. Carson. [See
Gould, Vol. IV, page 634.] This collection was bought by Gen. Samuel Lawrence and
by him presented to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Efforts are being made by the writer to get a photostatic copy of this charter, bearing
the signature of "S. Morin," because it is all in English and would thus show that "S.
Morin" understood English and French, as would an American bom in New York of a
French Protestant family settled there since 1691.
The Constitutions of 1762, also in English, that Henry Andrew Francken gave to the
Albany Lodge of Perfection, are also said to be in this collection and it is hoped that
these treasures will be photographed before long.
THE QUESTION OF METHOD
After all it seems that Bro. Kress and I are not so far apart. We agree in principle but
not in methods. We both want to see an American school of research established, and
we want the facts. I cannot agree with him when he says: "Until facts are presented to
prove Frederick's headship, the story must be rejected."
It would seem to me that the fact that the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, making
returns on its membership, did, through its Master, address a letter to Frederick as the
head of the Order to which it belonged, must be accepted as positive evidence that
Frederick was its head. If it had been an English lodge, whose records said he was the
head of the Order to which it belonged, the assertion would be accepted without
If my Lodge of Perfection should address a letter, enclosing its list of members, to
Captain John H. Cowles, head of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, it would
seem to me that this would be accepted as evidence that Captain Cowles was the head
of that Order, especially if the lodge went to the trouble of making it a part of its
All Masons would naturally accept it as such, unless they had some preconceived
opinions, as they would reason that the lodge would know better than any outsider
who their superior officers were.
But this is the point that Bro. Kress does not want to concede. He thinks he knows
better than the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection who their superior officers were,
although they were contemporary with Frederick and Bro. Kress is 150 years behind
time. They know definitely that Frederick was the head of their Order and Bro. Kress
now "suspects" that he was not. Guess again.
VON STEUBE A LINK
Furthermore, Baron von Steuben was in Philadelphia at the time the letter was
written, settling his accounts with the Congress, as his life will show. He knew
Frederick intimately, having been his Adjutant General, who sent him to Washington
as the best present one Masonic general could make to another, von Steuben was a
Mason, and Bro. Kress and Lantoine have not yet denied that Frederick and
Washington were likewise.
If there had been the slightest doubt on the part of any Mason that Frederick was the
head of the Order to which the Lodge of Perfection belonged. Colonel Bush, as a
companion-in-arms of Baron von Steuben, would have known and the letter would
never have been written. Certainly it would not have been made a part of the official
records of the Lodge.
Bro. Kress made the statement that I quoted Gould in part "for my own purpose,"
which is rather an unkind way of putting it. The reason I did not continue quoting
Gould was because I did not want to bring into the discussion the unreliability and
prejudice of Gould in matters concerning the Scottish Rite. Notably where he says,
"The Constitutions of 1786 were undoubtedly forged in America and probably those
of 1762." I should be happy to take up this matter at some future time, but I think I
have said enough now.
It is my opinion and belief that Frederick had the Constitutions of 1786 drawn up to
prevent the troubles that arose when the Duke of Sudermania, later King of Sweden,
was elected head of the Strict Observance. It was a political reason that made
Frederick put himself at the head of the Rite in Germany, that he afterwards turned
into the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite by these same Constitutions of 1786, just
as Albert Pike shrewdly asserted in his Historical Inquiry, which every Scottish Rite
Mason should read.
I am confirmed in this belief by seeing a similar jealous political feeling on the part of
the authorities in Denmark, as shown in a recent number of the Ars Quatuoi
Coronatorum on "Lodges in the Danish West Indies," Vol. 37, page 147, part 2. After
stating that the work was conducted in German, as the rituals were in German and
were those of the Order of Strict Observance, of which the Baron von Hund was
Grand Master until he died in 1776, it goes on to say:
Upon April 29th, King Christian VII signed a rescript to the leaders of the
Freemasons in Denmark directing that never and nowhere in any Danish land or
possession should the Freemasons recognize a foreign Prince of royal blood as Grand
Master or give any such authority or influence over the Order. It was a known fact
that Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick had a certain influence over lodges in the Danish
lands and possessions (Duke Ferdinand succeeded von Hund as Grand Master in the
System of the strict Observance) but when he retired no lodge was to be permitted to
allow any foreigner to have an authority over any lodge without first having
petitioned therefor and obtained royal permission.
Duke Ferdinand, of Brunswick, was one of Frederick's generals who won for him the
great victory of the battle of Minden during the Seven Years' War. In fact, in view of
all the circumstances, it might not be such a wild guess to hazard the belief that
Frederick might have been the head of the Unknown Superiors to whom the Strict
Observance members had to pledge themselves. Especially when we realize that the
Three Globes Grand Lodge, which Frederick organized at Berlin, was for 20 years a
member of the Strict Observance. At any rate, Duke Ferdinand became the real ruler
of the Strict Observance after the Convention was held at Kohlo in 1772.
In 1778 the Duke of Sudermania, then G. M. of Sweden, was elected as its head and
Gould says that it was probable that political motives were connected with his
candidacy. The Danish Lodges opposed him as they feared the political influence of
Sweden, which also had possessions in Germany. At that time Baron von Steuben had
just come to America (1777) and as a Mason knew what was going on in Masonic
circles in Germany.
FERDINAND, OF BRUNSWICK, GRAND MASTER
In April, 1781, the Duke of Sudermania resigned and Ferdinand of Brunswick was
elected Grand Master in 1782, which office he held until his death, in 1792, at the age
of 71, after which the Order disappeared. On Jan. 30, 1784, the Grand Lodge of the
"Three Globes," of which Frederick had been Grand Master, after a membership of 20
years, withdrew from the Strict Observance "with its superstructure of hermeticism
and Rosicrucianism," so Gould says (Vol. Ill, page 367), leaving that Order
"moribund." A little more than two years after the withdrawal of the "Three Globes"
and about six years after the rescript of King Christian, the proponents of the
Constitutions of 1786 assert that Frederick II, King of Prussia, whose subordinate was
the head of the Strict Observance, signed these Constitutions which gave to each
country, after his death, a Supreme Council of nine members supreme in that country,
with the exception of America, which was to have two such Councils. All this was
done, as it states in these Constitutions, for the purpose of preventing discords (such
as the election of the Duke of Sudermania had caused) and the spread of innovations
such as had been going on in neighboring kingdoms.
These Constitutions also describe the manner in which the Rite of Perfection of 25
degrees, the Primitive Rite, the Ancient Rite and some others were combined by
Frederick to form the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33 degrees. From that
time the Strict Observance was indeed "moribund." (See Gould's History, Vol. Ill,
The validity of the Constitutions of 1786 has been fiercely attacked, generally by
those who had some motive for so doing. It would be well for Bro. Kress, and all
others who have any doubts as to its validity, to read Pike's Historical Inquiry, in
which that great lawyer analyzes the evidence and states his reason for believing them
CHARACTER OF THE FIRST SUPREME COUNCIL
The founders of the first Supreme Council in America have been proven to be men of
the highest standing in the military and professional circles of South Carolina and real
They were contemporary with the adoption of these Constitutions, and under them the
first Supreme Council was formed in 1801, only fifteen years after they had been
adopted. It is a fair presumption that Frederic Dalcho, then a doctor of medicine, 3 1
years old, and afterwards an Episcopal clergyman of the highest standing in
Charleston, knew what he was talking about when he asserted that they were signed
by Frederick II of Prussia and provided for Supreme Councils of nine members for
each country. It is certain he would not lie about it, as he has openly or covertly been
charged with doing. (See Lantoine's statement.)
Furthermore he was the son of a Prussian, who had been before von Steuben, the
Adjutant General of Frederick the Great and on account of wounds received in the
Seven Years' War was allowed to retire to London, England, where Frederick Dalcho
was bom and named after the King.
This information about the father of Frederick Dalcho I obtained from a pamphlet,
The Lost Key, by Edwin A. Sherman, a California Masonic historian, who also
asserts that Baron von Steuben was the agent of Frederick, King of Pmssia, in
introducing the new organization of 33 degrees into America. Bro. Sherman goes into
this matter at great length, which I cannot go into now save to say that he asserts that
Col. John Mitchell, the first Grand Commander, was a member of the same regiment
with Baron von Steuben, which, of course, can be verified or disproved.
In the meantime I tmst that Bro. Kress will realize that although I may write at times
rather bmsquely, there is still the same underlying thought in my mind that he has,
and that is to go to the original records and let the word-painters alone. Our only
difference is that I do not intend to discard all traditions until I have found them to be
without palpable foundation.
— o —
By BRO. A. L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
AFTER reading Bro. Willard's reply, I cannot see that he has produced any further
facts or strengthened his previous case sufficiently to justify further discussion, on my
part at least. So far as Von Hund's diary goes, who has ever seen it? When Von Hund
or anyone else implies that he received, in 1742, any "Scottish" degrees, or "Scottish
Rite" degrees, or anything even remotely resembling them, they are wrong. I did not
mean to imply Bro. Willard ever has said Frederick presided over the convention.
This has been asserted by others. My point was that I was ready to accept his data that
Frederick could have done anything he is supposed to have done about the
Constitutions so far as his physical condition was concerned. Which proves nothing. I
doubt if John Dove could have known Da Costa personally, though I have no facts as
to dates. I might add also that I had read Pike's Historical Inquiry. Some years ago we
had the pious myth going around about the sword Frederick was supposed to have
sent Washington. Did Bro. Willard ever hear of that ? Now it seems he sent Baron
von Steuben to Washington also.
The facts in the case we are agreed upon it seems. We differ in their interpretation.
Until new facts are produced continued discussion will get us nowhere.
— o —
NEW LIGHT ON RAMSAY'S FAMOUS ORATION
IN his article FREDERICK AND THE FACTS Bro. Willard refers to the
correspondence between Bro. Kress and Bro. Lantoine which was published in a
recent number of LE SYMBOLISME. As the facts brought to light by Bro. Lantoine
are interesting and important, Bro. Kress has translated the reply to his inquiries. It
may also be of interest to members of the N.M.R.S. to learn that Bro. Lantoine is a
member of the Supreme Council A.&A.S.R. for France. His position at least shows
that he is hardly actuated by any prejudice or hostility against the Scottish Rite, even
if he does attack what he regards as unfounded in its history.
TO ALBERT LANTOINE
I have read your History of French Freemasonry with a great deal of pleasure. I
consider it a great work.
Will you do me the kindness of answering a few questions? On page 120 you reprint
the two letters Ramsay wrote the Cardinal de Fleury.
1 . Have you personally examined these original letters in the archives of the Minister
of Foreign Affairs?
2. In the first letter if as you say "the date March 20, 1737, is not in the handwriting of
Ramsay" how can the date of the oration be established from this letter?
3. Who do you think did write the date on this letter?
4. Daruty says the Cardinal de Fleury wrote on the margin "The King does not wish
them to assemble." Is this correct?
5. Have you personally examined the work you cite on page 116 "Dans les Lettres de
M. de V. etc." 1738 so that you know the oration appeared in this work?
A. L. Kress.
TO A. L. KRESS
1. 1 have personally examined the letters addressed to Cardinal de Fleury by the
2-3. All State papers bear a date marked by the archivist charged with their
classification. I must admit that this date was not necessarily added in Ramsay's first
letter immediately after its receipt, and that the file to which this letter belongs has
perhaps been classified later. 1 do not believe-this, though, because, in the last case,
the archivist would not have indicated the day of the month with so much precision.
But even if I understand your doubts, I cannot admit it in the case of the second letter,
which corroborates the first and in which the date 1737 seems to me not to be
doubted— and here is the reason: This second letter in fact bears this date not only at
the top (in the hand of the archivist) but below and so placed
A Paris, ce 22 Mars. [Ramsay's hand- writing] 1737.
M. Abel Rigault, Under Secretary of the service of archives for Foreign Affairs, who
has kindly aided me with his expert knowledge of handwriting (he actually is an
expert) inclines to believe that this 1737 which is placed below the day of the month
is also in Ramsay's writing. He bases his opinion on these points:
a. that the figures do not in the least resemble those of the date written at the top by
b. that this period placed after 1737 is a peculiarity not to be attributed to an archivist
and one which Ramsay used.
This comment is of value. Fet us note, in fact that neither of us for example would put
a period following the date in a manuscript letter while Ramsay puts one after the
22nd of March. I will even say that it was this last period which made me believe that
the 1737 placed below (in the first letter) did not belong to it, and that is why 1 did not
add this date in the reproduction on page 120 of my Histoire de la Freemasonry
But even at that have we the right to doubt the date of a letter which has this date
recorded on it by two different hands? I add that the handwriting of both these dates is
incontestably of the 1 8th century.
4. Daruty, after Lemontey's work Histoire de la Regence et de la Mirnorite de Louis
XV ..." (Paris 1832) makes us believe that "Cardinal de Fleury had written on the
margin 'the King does not wish them to assemble'." Is this correct, you ask me?
I think if Daruty had taken the trouble to consult the document, he would not so
readily have reported Lemontey's version. The seven lines in pencil which are found
not on the margin but at the head of the letter are illegible. After tedious attempts,
here is what I have been able to decipher with the kind aid of M. Rigault:
Rep . . . lira . . . deja parle' . . . bien des gens . . . croit . . . le roy meme s'en est
moque . . . mardy dine . . . ne veux college. (Reply read . . . already spoken . . . many
persons . . . believed . . . The king himself makes fun of them . . . Monday dinner . . .)
And again I do not guarantee the correctness of this incoherent writing. The only line
which seems clear to me is "the king himself makes fun of them." Can we render
these sybilline words as "the king does not wish them to assemble?" It is an
interpretation ventured which my mind eager for facts, cannot accept . . . The fact is
that this pencilling has become illegible.
Another observation: what proof have we that these lines were written by Cardinal de
Fleury? They might be his, evidently since his writing might be shakier (by reason of
his age) but it could also have been made by one of his clerks charged with opening
his correspondence or a note dictated by him. This note in my opinion is the scheme
for the reply that a secretary has drawn up to Ramsay's petition. What a pity that this
last may not be found among the Chevalier's papers . . . Who knows?
5. 1 have personally examined the work I cite on p. 116 "Lettres de M. de V.... avec
plusieurs pieces de differens auteurs." The Hague, Pierre Popy, 1738. The oration of
Ramsay is thus presented Discouse pronounced at the Reception of Freemasons by
M. de Ramsay; Grand Orator of the Order. It is between pages 47 and 70. [M.
Lantoine goes on to say this work is extremely licentious and that following the
Oration are some so-called statutes which he gives in full.]
I take this occasion to thank you warmly for your appreciation in THE BUILDER of
my Histoire de la Franc Maconnerie. My book has been made the subject of rather
warm controversy in this excellent American journal. Bro. Willard in numerous pages
has literally loaded me with abuse for having denied the part taken by Frederic II in
the establishment of the 1786 Grand Constitutions. I see no need for pursuing the
discussion. With him, it is a matter of belief or opinion and I can as a historian only
argue from the texts. Without reason, I am accused of lack of respect for Albert Pike.
I believe I am misunderstood. I do not ignore the great worth of your compatriot and I
appreciate the fervent admiration with which the American brethren have consecrated
him. But if from the ritualistic point of view his competency seems to me undoubted,
I cannot blindly follow him in his historical ideas. His imagination which served him
so well in the interpretation of symbols deserted him in his interpretation of facts. He
depends on testimony [of others] while I, like Saint Thomas, believe only that which I
see. I have read his Historical Inquiry and that has not in the least convinced me of
Frederick the Second's participation. So far as Bro. Willard goes, Albert Pike has
refuted my allegations beforehand. That is a point of view. I rest on my position: why
does some one not show us the text signed by Frederick? Albert Pike saw it. That
does not suffice for me. In history as in law the evidence of the most honest man in
the world requires confirmation. Albert Pike invokes also the evidence of Baron de
Marguerittes, saying on page 127: "The Baron de Marguerittes said . . . Know, M. 111.
Brethren, that a Scottish Knight has in his possession the original charter of 1786
signed with his own hand by the late Frederic the Great, King of Prussia...."
Why has not the Baron de Marguerittes given us the name of this "Scottish Knight"?
And if in 1818 the thing was even then argued to the point where it was necessary in
order to fortify the belief of the brothers to promise to show them the Constitutions,
why did not this Scottish Knight bequeath this so precious document to his brothers
so that today we should be able to verify its authenticity?
The famous Gerbier patent in France also has been thought a fact, and the Morin
patent, and the patent of the Arras Chapter founded by Charles-Edward of which so
many copies have been certified correct by personages of high rank. But when we ask
to see the originals— as is our right and duty— these originals, of such leading
importance for the History of Freemasonry, are not to be found. All these people who
have examined them, and examined them to the point of guaranteeing their contents,
have been so clumsy as not to keep them out of harm's way. Is it not perplexing?
Your desire to be correctly documented, Bro. Kress, fits in so well with my own
method of work as not to leave me indifferent. I think that these interchanges are not
useless and constitute a good Masonic work. If anyone proves to me I am wrong I
shall be the first to thank my critic and to acknowledge my error— putting love of truth
above a mean and absurd self-love as an author.
Sincerely yours, Albert Lantoine.
NOTE Bro. Willard in his article (page 226) refers to the term "sleepwalkers,"
ascribing it to the late Bro. Enoch T. Carson. Bro. Carson in the chapter mentioned of
the addenda to Gould's History of Freemasonry that is included in the American
edition, speaks of "the 'sleepwalking' paths" followed by many Masonic writers in
dealing with the so-called higher degrees. Actually it was Gould himself who hit upon
this apt description, or at any rate gave it currency in Masonic circles, for he uses it in
the History and elsewhere, and since then it has been frequently quoted and used by
There is one point that should be made in summing up this discussion, for as so often
happens the arguments and counter arguments do not always meet fairly. The parties
do not always properly understand the meaning of what their opponents have said. It
does not seem that either Bro. Kress or Bro. Lantoine intended to imply that Frederick
was not physically able to put his signature to a document during the last months of
his life, not yet that he was mentally incapable of considering or even originating
such a project as the organization of the Scottish Rite out of the various rites orders,
and scattered ne plus ultra degrees of which the preceding fifty years had been so
prolific, especially in France. The argument is apparently cumulative and
psychological. Frederick had for years shown an indifference to the Craft; more than
that he had expressed a positive antipathy to the high grades. Was it likely that at the
end of his life, while ill and burdened with important affairs of state, he should have
troubled to give time and attention to an organization he had come to regard as at the
best trivial and puerile?
The right way to meet this argument, it would seem, would be to examine the
evidence offered to show that Frederick had become indifferent to Masonry, and was
antipathetic to the high degrees. This anyone interested may do by referring to Bro.
Lantoine's work, or to the translation of the chapter on Frederick in THE BUILDER
for June last year.
The subject has now had quite full discussion, the disputants seem to be largely in
agreement as to the facts, and until new evidence is discovered there does not seem
much chance of settling the question absolutely and beyond doubt. Let us hope Bro.
Willard's efforts to this end may meet with success. [Ed.]
— o —
THE FREEMASONRY OF NORTHERN EUROPE
By Paul Duvignan (Translated from L' Acacia)
THIS article will have a double interest for those readers of The Builder interested in
the ideal of Masonic universality. In the first place it gives some fresh and we believe
trustworthy account of Scandinavia and Germany, and secondly it indirectly gives
glimpses of the attitude and ideals of the Institution in France. From an esteemed
correspondent in Denmark, Bro. P. A. Fenger, we learn that the recently deceased
Master of his lodge, Dr. C. N. Starcke, assisted the author of the following article
with information and suggestions.
IN connection with the rapprochement between France and Germany, a problem
proposed last year by the Council of the Order for study by the individual lodges it
has devolved upon us to arrange reports on the subject, some of which are insufficient
while some are vitiated by mistakes; and this in spite of the evident good will of the
reporters and even of their ability. It seems that we French limit our attention too
much, contenting ourselves, or very nearly, with knowing only what happens in our
own country. Exterior occurrences most often escape us, as we do not travel and we
do not know foreign languages. So I am happy to be able to give the readers of
L'Acacia the following information on the Masonry of Northern Europe, which is of a
nature, I believe, to dissipate certain clouds, and to fix ideas that are hesitant and
DENMARK The most ancient lodge existing in Denmark, "Zorobabel," was founded
in 1744 and received its letters patent [warrant] from Hamburg. The first lodge was
founded in 1743 by a member of the lodge at Berlin. "Zorobabel" was formed by a
number of dissident brethren who left this. A year and some months later it received
another warrant from London. At the same time the Grand Lodge, "Les Trois
Globes," of Berlin, also founded several new lodges in Denmark.
During the period of splendor of the Strict Observance, about the year 1755, Danish
Masonry came under the influence of this rite. But a rivalry soon arose between the
Danish lodges and the Grand Lodge of the Strict Observance, owing to the fact that
the Swedish duke, Karl of Sudermania had been given the highest rank in the latter.
From this moment the King of Denmark placed the lodges of his country under his
own authority in order to withdraw them from foreign control.
The Duke of Brunswick, and later Karl of Hesse, ruled as Provincial Grand Masters
the lodges of the rite of the "Knight of the Holy City." Thus these lodges had a
tranquil existence during the reign of Christian VIII and in the first years of that of
Frederick VII. But in 1852 Frederick was initiated in the Swedish rite. In spite of
numerous protests made by the Danish lodges the Swedish rite was introduced into
Denmark by a royal ordinance, which named this country as the eighth Province that
drew its origin from the "Strict Observance." Following this the Grand Lodge of
Denmark, under Frederick VIII and Christian X, kept the privilege of founding new
lodges in their own territory. But, by reason of the special character— very Christian,
exclusively Christian, in fact-of the Swedish rite, and of the particular philosophical
tendencies which differentiated it sharply from the true Masonic ideal— the
humanitarian ideal— a number of Danes, who were not Masons, united themselves in
1900 to found a separate lodge. They procured their initiation, not into the Swedish
rite, but into the humanitarian Masonry of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg; and with
letters patent from this Grand Lodge, which recognizes only the first three degrees,
they formed an independent lodge. Later, that is, since 1900, two others were formed
of the same rite and under the same obedience [Hamburg], But between these three
lodges and the Grand Lodge of Denmark, which follows the Swedish rite, there are no
In Norway we do not find any independent development of Freemasonry until 1814.
Up to this date Norway followed Denmark, being under the same king.
After 1814 Norway was reunited to Sweden and the Norwegian lodges accepted the
Swedish rite. But the same causes which had operated in Denmark raised up
opposition to the latter, and several brothers founded an independent lodge under the
obedience of the Grand Lodge "of the Sun" at Bayreuth, in 1882. In the following
year several other lodges were created under the same obedience [this is not quite
exactly equivalent to our term jurisdiction. Tr.]: In 1893 they were united and
recognized as a Provincial Grand Lodge under the name Polar Star, and, as before,
under the Grand Lodge "Zur Sonne" of Bayreuth.
The Norwegian lodges of the Swedish rite broke away from the Grand Lodge of
Sweden in 1891 and formed an independent Grand Lodge for the country of Norway,
which became the tenth province, in the same way that Denmark formed the eighth
and Sweden the ninth, but still following the Swedish rite.
Between the Provincial Grand Lodge "Polar Star" (of the Humanitarian rite of
Bayreuth) and the Grand Lodge of Norway (Swedish rite) there existed friendly
relations up till 1920. In this year the P. G. L. Polar Star was recognized as an
independent Grand Lodge by the Grand Lodge of Bayreuth. From this time the Grand
Lodge of Norway of the Swedish rite has broken off all relations with the new Grand
Lodge of the Humanitarian rite (1).
In Sweden the first lodge was founded in 1737 by letters patent from Lord
Derwentwater. [In his capacity as Grand Master of France. Tr.] The formation of
lodges was arbitrary and without any definite organization till the year 1756. At this
time Karl Frederick Eckleff, Councillor of State, founded a "Scottish" lodge, which
three years later organized itself into a "Grand Chapter." [Not in any way connected
with the Royal Arch, of course. Tr.] The formation of lodges which constituted
themselves after this was of the same nature as that of many other "rites" of "high"
and mystical degrees, which emerged at this epoch (around 1759) all through Europe.
The most characteristic and most important of these rites during a considerable period
was that of the Strict Observance, in Germany. The Swedish lodges attached
themselves to this system and entered into communication with it, particularly when
the King of Sweden, Gustave III, who was Grand Master of the Swedish Grand
Lodge, gave, one year after he ascended the throne, the gavel of the Order into the
hands of his brother, the Duke of Sudermania. The latter sought to collect and unite
various Masonic materials drawn from the whole world. According to tradition most
of these materials came from Florence, Geneva and Bohemia.
The Duke charged a commission with the task of studying the different rituals, and in
the year 1 800 the Swedish rite received its definitive form as an organized expression
of the idea of absolute royalty. During this time the Strict Observance and the other
more mystical rites of the "High Degrees" disappeared little by little on account of
their having no coherent organization and their lack of any real philosophic
Now the Swedish rite maintains itself by force of its organization and by the support
of ideas which serve as a base for absolute monarchy; but these ideas are not
specifically Masonic, rather they are a drag on Masonic thought by their inflexible
forms. The Swedish rite has cultivated friendly relations very little with the rest of the
Masonic world. Nevertheless, in 1770, Zinnendorf founded the National Grand Lodge
of Berlin, taking as a foundation the MSS. and other works of Eckleff; and in 1819,
Nettelblad brought this Grand Lodge into accord with the rite that in the interval had
been evolved in Sweden.
It follows from what has been said that the Swedish rite is followed in Sweden,
Denmark, Norway and Prussia. It numbers about 50,000 members.
At the head of all the Grand Lodges of the different provinces is "the unknown
Chief," a mythical successor to Solomon the Wise. Each of these Grand Lodges is
governed by a "Deputy of Solomon the Wise" (who, in Denmark and Sweden,
respectively, is the king of the country). The Deputy is elected for life by a Superior
Council, and he governs the lodges with an absolute authority. At his side is placed
the Council, which however has only a consultative voice in affairs, composed of
nine civilian brethren and two ecclesiastical, all of whom must be Commanders of the
Rose Croix (the highest degree).
The rite has five degrees of the Chapter, beneath which are three degrees of St.
Andrew and below that again the three degrees of St. John's Masonry, which
corresponds to our Apprentice, Companion and Master. [The E. A., F. C. and M. M.
of English speaking Masonry. Tr.] In all there are eleven degrees. In Prussia there are
only ten, as there are only two degrees of St. Andrew's Masonry.
The brethren of all the degrees owe implicit obedience to their superiors and obligate
themselves expressly by oath never to propose any modification in the rite, and never
to make any Masonic connections outside the rite.
The St. John's lodges (working the first three degrees) constitute in this rite merely a
kind of antechamber to the high grades. In order to constitute a St. John's lodge it is
necessary to have at least nine brethren who belong to the chapter. [The degrees of
the Chapter in this rite are, 7d, Knights of the East or Prince of Jerusalem, equivalent
to the 15d of the A.& A.S.R.; 8d, Confidant of King Solomon, or Knight of the West,
a Templar degree; 9d, Knight of the South, or Confidant of St. Andrew or Perfect
Templar; lOd, Knight Companion of the Red Cross. The 1 Id is Deputy of Solomon
the Wise and is held only by the King. Whether the lOd is really a Rose Croix degree
or not is not certain with the information at hand. The last three degrees are said to be
purely honorary. Tr.] It is necessary that the Master should have attained at least the
8d [i.e., he too must belong to the Chapter. Tr.] He is designated by the "Deputy" of
Solomon the Wise. [The actual head of the rite in each province. Tr.] In effect the
supreme power gives to the lodge a choice between three brothers designated by him.
POWERS OF THE HIGH GRADES
The brethren of the five higher grades (the Chapter) are empowered to enter any
lodge, to vote, to ballot, and in the last case they have the right to put in the ballot box
a number of white or black balls which differ according to their rank. They thus
exercise an absolute authority in the affairs of the lodges. [Of course the Master, and
the other nine Chapter members necessary to the constitution of a lodge of St. John,
also have the same right. Tr.] The lodges which disobey are dissolved and their
members transferred to others.
The oath demanded of each candidate at initiation obligates him to absolute
obedience, blind, and for life. And further than this it is not accompanied by any
explanation of the obligation thus concentrated. It is, in general, to the decrees that
have been issued by the "Deputy" in the past, and to the decrees that he may choose
to make in the future, that this oath of obedience refers. Further than this the Swedish
rite is based entirely on Christian dogma; it is not permitted to accept any candidate
who belongs to any other than the Christian religion.
The ceremonial of the lodges, especially in the high degrees, is very stately, and it is
based on the myths which have attached themselves to the Order of the Templars
from its foundation to its end. This is an element exactly similar to that found in the
Strict Observance and in the Grand Lodge of Berlin. These myths of the Templars
however have been renounced since 1887, after the labors of Schottmuller, carried out
by the order of the German Emperor, Frederick III, who was, so it is said, a perfect
Mason. As this resume shows, the Swedish rite has acted in a manner to bring about a
complete rupture with the rest of the Masonic world. It considers itself as something
extraordinary, superior to all other rites. It does not desire to entertain friendly
relations with them, and it does not recognize their rights as Masons. It has held
relations only with the Grand Lodge of England. [And then only very distantly. Tr.]
Ardent Christians have often attacked the dogmatic teaching that is professed in the
Swedish lodges, in which the myths of the "Essenes" play a considerable role. The
Essenes were a Jewish sect, spoken of by Flavius Josephus in his history of the wars
against the Romans. It was a fraternal association, whose members lived an ascetic
and celibate life. It was strongly organized. The Swedish rite has intentionally
confounded this sect with the primitive Christians. In this way it has established a
connection between itself and the Jewish King, Solomon the Wise, who plays such a
large part in universal Freemasonry. The Swedish rite is unable to pass beyond this,
for it has cut itself off from all spiritual relationship with the rest of the Masonic
Actually the importance of these myths is very little. In spite of very commendable
ideas, which in their time justified the absolute monarchy, this rite has preserved
completely the character of intolerance, which by the side of the above ideas
constitutes the hateful aspect of absolute power, a character that in the present epoch
presents it in an aspect that is really shocking.
This is why, in the North, true Masonry has the greatest difficulties in establishing
itself. Masonry has, however, a grand social mission, involved more and more in the
troubled circumstances of our day. Although as yet, even in Germany, an organized
Masonic movement for the propagation of humanitarian ideas and for world peace,
and co-operation between the different peoples, has not yet been possible. [Since
1906 an Independent Grand Lodge "Masonic Union of the Rising Sun" has been
working towards this end.] The Swedish rite, in its inflexibility and the rigor of its
organization bears the greatest responsibility for this check to the true aims of
Now, in a few words, let us look at the present situation in Germany. The position is
1 . The Grand Lodges of the Swedish rite, which accept only men of the Christian
faith and of pure German blood. These are the three Grand Lodges of Prussia— "The
Three Globes," "The Royal York" [this name has been changed to "Friendship" since
the war] and the "National Grand Lodge of Germany" at Berlin. These Grand Lodges
are fiercely anti-semitic, intolerant, and they brutally repudiate any idea of universal
fraternity. They count about two-thirds of German Freemasons in their membership,
about 40,000. These Freemasons compose in the minds of the Germans, even of the
profane, an elite circle, of men of reputation and weight, possessing an incontestable
prestige among their countrymen.
2. The lodges connected with the Humanitarian rite. That is, the Grand Lodges of
Hamburg, "Of the Sun" at Bayreuth, of Saxony, of Frankfort, "Of Brotherly Union"
and of "Concord" at Darmstadt. These accept members of all religions, professing in
this respect a tolerance quite unknown to the Swedish rite. This indicates quite plainly
a broader spirit, more under the influence of reason, and more accessible to the ideal
of universality. Two characters differentiate it from us Masons of the Grand Orient
(of France). We systematically refuse to espouse any philosophic doctrine, enjoying
in this regard a complete independence, an independence which, it was inevitable
furthermore, should be established little by little by reason of the supple Latin
mentality, which possesses in the supreme degree the gift of adaptation to its
surroundings. This opposes itself— by a fatality —to the stiffness of the northern mind,
too often frozen in the perpetual and rigorous observations of ritual and symbols
which to us appear obsolete and archaic.
The lodges of the Humanitarian rite are pacifist, in spite of their refusal to take up
again the contacts broken through the war. Before that, this rite had relations with the
Grand Orient. It is necessary, however, to take count of the psychologic situation
created by the German defeat. I am convinced that this situation is only accidental,
and that with tact we will be able to put an end to it in time.
The Constitutions of the Humanitarian rite forbid all discussions on politics and
religion in official meetings. Their membership in Germany is about 20,000,
approximately one-third of the number of German Masons. [There is also the "Free
Union of the Five Independent German Lodges which are "Minerva" at Leipsig,
"Archimedes" at Altenburg, "Balduin" at Leipsig, "Charles of the Crown of Rue" at
Hildburghausen, and "Archimedes" at Gera. These five lodges are in fraternal
relationship with the eight German Grand Lodges, with the Grand Lodge Alpina of
Switzerland and others (2).]
(1) Most American Masons are entirely unaware that the principles upon which
Masonic Jurisdiction is determined are quite peculiar to this country and are not
Landmarks. The American system has, however, the merit of clarity and simplicity.
The case of the Polar Star Lodge is curious. The body that we should regard as the
regular and supreme Masonic authority in Norway was quite content to have a
provincial Grand Lodge holding from another country, and lived in amicable and
fraternal intercourse with it. But it objects to its becoming an independent Grand
Lodge. We might make a rule out of this, but when we go to Germany or France we
find independent Grand Lodges and independent lodges living happily together in
fraternal intercourse, and our rule is overturned. But though there is no consistent rule
about governing bodies there is agreement about lodges. Lodges are free to accept
anyone who applies if they find him worthy, no matter where he lives or where he
(2) This "Union" is not a Grand Lodge, so far as we can find out it has no legislative
or executive functions. The lodges are independent and sovereign, but they are in
— o —
The Vatican Mistaken
By DR. LEO CADIUS
IN his encyclical letter To the Princes and Peoples of the Universe, June 20, 1894,
Leo XIII addresses himself to the Eastern or Orthodox churches, inviting them to join
the Roman Church and to place themselves under the authority of the Holy See:
You have no reason to fear, as a consequence of your return to Catholic Unity, any
curtailment of your rights, of the privileges of your patriarchs, or of the rites and
customs of your respective churches. For it has always been and will ever be the
intention of the Holy See, as it has been her most constant tradition, to treat all
nations with a noble spirit of condescension and to show the greatest consideration
for their origin and customs.
Note the expression: "with a noble spirit of condescension."
When the world war broke out, the Allies were anxious to secure the aid of Italy. Let
us suppose now that the French government addressed an appeal for that purpose to
the Italian government and the said appeal contained the passage: "We Frenchmen,
Latins like yourselves, have always treated you Italians with a noble spirit of
condescension." If such an appeal had been published in the Italian press, what would
have been the effect? Indignation meetings and demonstrations would have been held
throughout the whole peninsula and many of the infuriated Italians would have
clamored for the entrance into the world war on the side of the Central Empires. But
then, what government would have been capable of such a stunt?
The Czar of Russia exercised a sort of protectorate over the adherents of the Eastern
Church. He was the pope of those within the Russian Empire. He ruled also over a
round twenty millions of Roman Catholic subjects, mostly Poles and Lithuanians. He
never looked upon them with any too great a favor. He frequently persecuted them. It
is not probable that the Pope's letter, with its "noble spirit of condescension" tended to
ameliorate their unenviable lot.
Where was our Catholic press when the Holy Father, the White Shepherd, handed
that "condescending" amenity to the Eastern churches ? The sheep bleat when there is
something amiss with their shepherd; for instance, when he fails to feed them at the
accustomed hour. But not our Catholic flock. It is too well disciplined.
Mr. Charles C. Marshall, in his famous Open Letter to Governor Alfred E. Smith of
New York, quotes from the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII on The Christian
Constitution of States:
The Almighty has appointed the charge of the human race between two powers, the
ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine and the other over human
things.... Over the mighty multitude of mankind, God has set rulers with power to
govern, and He has willed that one of them (the Pope) should be the head of all.
From the encyclical letter on The Reunion of Christendom Mr. Marshall quotes: "We
who hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." In a limited sense, all those in
authority hold the place of God towards their subjects; the parents over the children;
the teachers over the pupils; the ministers over their congregations. Still, if President
Coolidge asserted in a speech that in the United States he holds the place of God
Almighty, his claim would be greeted with an outburst of hilarity.
There is such a thing as a sense of fitness of things. Hence it caused no small amount
of amusement in Germany when about two decades ago Kaiser Wilhelm II, of happy
memory, while addressing a regiment of soldiers, mostly socialists, impressed it upon
them that they must regard their hated drillmasters, the noncommissioned officers
(unter-offiziere), as "the representatives of God."
The Kaiser talked, and the German people laughed and sneered, and wondered if
there was no way of muzzling him. He has never been muzzled, but he is in Holland
The Pope talked and his Catholic flock imbibed his wisdom with a reverence as if it
was taking the Lord's Supper. As w e have observed, the Catholic press admired in
Pope Leo XIII principally his altogether extraordinary diplomatic acumen.
Question: What kind of encyclical letters would he have issued, if he had not been
gifted with such prodigious diplomatic skill? PAPAL INFALLIBILITY
The promulgation of the Syllabus of Pius IX was shortly followed by the Vatican
Council, the first ecumenical council of the Roman Church since that of Trent (1545-
1565). The outstanding issue at this Vatican Council was the proclamation of the
dogma of papal infallibility. It created among non-Catholics a most unfavorable
impression. It stirred up fresh distrust and hatred of the papacy, and of the Catholic
Church in general. Like the unfortunate Syllabus it has conjured up petty
persecutions, discriminations against Catholics in business, in their academic and
government career. In reality, the dogma of papal infallibility is a harmless doctrine.
It has not conferred any new powers on the papacy. The right of the Holy See to act
as the supreme tribunal in religious controversies has been accepted by the Catholic
world all along. Roma locuta causa fmita, "Rome has spoken, the controversy is
ended," was the recognized Catholic principle.
Papal infallibility means that the Pope is inerrant in matters of religion and morals
when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, officially as the head of the Church. As a private
theologian he can err. But against his ex cathedra decision there is no higher appeal.
Since the proclamation of that dogma, the question has risen to the front: When is a
papal pronouncement strictly ex cathedra? The theologians have not as yet reached an
agreement on that point. For instance, they are divided in their opinion whether the
Syllabus of Pope Pius IX is an infallible dictum. The majority seem to favor its non-
In the American Church Monthly (Episcopalian, New York) of February, 1927, the
Reverend Alan Whittemore, in an article of unusual merit on Church Unity, asserts
that according to many recognized Roman Catholic authorities the Holy Father has
made but two infallible pronouncements during the whole course of the Church's
Though a papal pronouncement, like the Syllabus, need not be accepted as an
infallible utterance, it carries, nevertheless, great force. A Catholic is forbidden to
defend a thesis that has been proscribed by the Syllabus. If a priest would, for
example, still uphold the theory that the papacy is vastly better off without the secular
power— Central Italy— he is liable to be found guilty of contumacy and to be removed
from office. This shows to what extent freedom of speech is restricted in the Roman
Church. While the proclamation of the new dogma has practically neither augmented
nor diminished the powers of the papacy and produced no visible benefits for the
Church, it has had annoying consequences. It has cast a fresh stumbling block in the
path of the non-Catholics by whom it is still utterly misunderstood. It has released a
deluge of ridicule on the Church, ridicule mixed with hatred and disgust. And perhaps
90 per cent of the Catholics themselves misinterpret it. Our religious teachers have
been explaining all along what it means and what it does not mean. They will have to
keep up explaining till dooms day. And all because a powerful group of theologians,
rigorists of the old school, love to multiply dogmas. They are bent upon restricting the
freedom of thought and of speech. Their hobby must be gratified no matter at what
loss to the peace and welfare of the Church.
Bishop Ketteler of Mayence, the father of socio-economic welfare work in Germany,
Bishop Hefele of Rottenburg, the eminent historian, and other leading churchmen had
vigorously declared themselves against the advisability of proclaiming the trouble
breeding dogma, and had voted against it. John Ignace von Doellinger, the foremost
scholar in the Church, bolted the Council. The revolt he inaugurated proved abortive.
But it was by a close margin that a great schism was averted.
The Vatican Council was interrupted by the Franco-German war of 1870-1871. It is
to reconvene in the near future. If I am informed correctly, a tentative program has
been mailed to the bishops throughout the world. Its contents have so far been kept
from the public. The suspicion seems justified that something will be "slipped over"
on the Catholic people. Probably a new dogma, or several dogmata, will be hatched
out that will irritate the world, be misunderstood by 99 per cent of the people, and
bring annoyance, mortification, and, perhaps, even persecutions on millions of the
faithful. The priests will have a few more additional doctrines to explain.
The recent crisis in Mexico has revealed one thing: the American Protestants are
almost solidly in sympathy with the Calles government. Does that straw not indicate
which way the wind is blowing?
In view of the sad experience we have had with the Syllabus and Papal Infallibility, it
would seen a timely move, if the Knights of Columbus petitioned the Pope that he
publish sufficiently in advance the tentative program of the coming Council. Feeble
as Catholic public opinion is in the Vatican-ridden American Church- feeble towards
the Vatican— it may nevertheless risk a faint whisper intimating to the Holy Father
that he warn the irrepressible restrictionists and dogma sponsors to use a little caution.
Given free reign, they will again start to dance and jig around their idol whose name
is Excessive Restriction. It is our good, well meaning, patient Catholic people, that
will have to pay the fiddler.
But why should it be up to the Knights to present such matters to the Vatican? Could
not our American bishops and priests attend to it? They could, but they will not do so.
They are tongue-tied. They dare not utter a wish that might displease the Holy Father.
Not only their career, their prospects of advancement, but their very livelihood is at
his mercy. Moreover, many of our bishops, including our most influential dignitaries,
are themselves restrictionists, particularly in the question of church government.
While those who are inclined towards latitudinarianism will for other reasons prefer
to observe a judicious silence. They know that the restrictionists are sitting in the
saddle at the Vatican.
As regards the common clergy, you could not induce a group of priests to draw up
such a petition. If you succeeded, it would be of no avail. The Vatican would frown
upon such a move. It would scent a spirit of unrest and insurgency to be promptly
crushed. Such matters, like demanding for the common clergy and for the laity a
voice in the government of the Church, cannot be presented to the Vatican without
implying a criticism of its past policies and, perhaps, of its present policy. Such
criticism will not be countenanced. The Vatican is accustomed to be fed adulation and
wants nothing but adulation and servility.
An individual priest who presumes to criticize the Vatican is laughed at as a joke. He
could not make himself heard. And if he should succeed in making himself heard, he
will be regarded by our good conservative Catholic masses an impudent rebel, a
scabby sheep, a weed in the garden of the Church. He is liable to be denounced by the
loyal Catholic press as a wretch who, inflated by insane conceit, has been
shipwrecked in faith. At best, he is pitied as a hopeless fool who has thrown himself
in the path of the most powerful steam roller on the face of the earth. He is a
ridiculous mouse who attempted to bell the cat. Many of the bishops, most of the best
educated priests and laymen and, in short, the greater part of the American Catholic
intelligentsia, may secretly approve of his stand, but it is doubtful whether even one
person will dare to side with him openly. He will need a strong sense of humor and an
imperturbable mental poise to bear his stigma with equanimity. For if he has any
common sense at all, he cannot help asking himself: Can I be possibly right when so
many good people condemn me and nobody defends me ? On the other hand, the
restrictionists and dogma spouters who bring needlessly odium and even persecutions
on the Church are applauded as the pious loyalists, as the courageous champions of
the faith. They are in the inner counsels of the Lord and on terms of familiarity with
the Holy Ghost. In fact, they are the mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost. Their wisdom and
virtue is extolled during their life time, they are granted the papal blessing on their
deathbed and they die with the sweetest and happiest smile on their face, conscious of
having kept their faith, and confident that St. Peter will receive them with a brass
band at the gates of paradise. And as most of them are really good and virtuous
people, we allow them cheerfully to be entitled to all that. They mean well and we
bear them no grudge.
Maybe my pessimism is unwarranted. The Marshall Smith correspondence has
furnished us a pleasant surprise. The valiant Governor of New York, the most popular
Catholic layman in the United States, has, after consulting a highly esteemed priest,
virtually repudiated the papal doctrine of the superiority of the Church over the State.
He has done so amid the applause of almost the entire nation, the Catholics
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Mr. Marshall has induced the Governor to make that "declaration of independence,"
as the Literary Digest has characterized his summary of political principles. There is a
ray of hope that the American Catholics may still further emancipate themselves from
the Italian Autocracy in the Vatican. They may yet succeed in being placed on a
footing of equality with the Italians in the Catholic world church.
Both Mr. Marshall and Governor Smith are entitled to congratulations. They have
advanced us a step towards clearing up the Vatican problem. But that problem is far
from being disposed of. I venture the following statements:
First. The American Catholics are, without exception, loyally devoted to their country
and to its Constitution.
Second. The Vatican has no ambition whatsoever of supplanting the government of
the United States, or for that matter, of any government in the world.
Third. However, if Roman Catholicism in the United States keeps up the rate of
increase it has maintained in the last half century, then, owing to a certain peculiarity
in the hierarchic organization of the American Church, in fifty years from now the
Vatican will be the super-government hovering over the federal government. The
latter will be at the mercy of the Italian Autocracy. The Autocracy will, perhaps,
make no use of its tremendous latent power. Or, what seems more probable, it will
make only a very moderate, a very broadminded and a very beneficent use of it. But
that is not the issue. The question is: Does the American people want to be at the
mercy of the great foreign Autocracy— of any foreign power?
Perhaps I have made a rash, irresponsible statement. In my work The Shadow of the
Vatican, which will shortly appear serially in these pages, I endeavor to prove my
contention. I will be glad to be corrected and to be shown that I have essayed to give
a false alarm.
There are millions of American non-Catholics today who, devoid of all religious
prejudice, view the form of government of the Roman Church with a certain
uneasiness. Why not discuss the problem openly and candidly and try to dispose of it
one way or the other? At any rate, such a discussion may tend to clear the
The Divine Attributes
By BRO. S. J. CARTER, New York
A THEOLOGIAN of our own day, the Rev. Dr. Robert Macintosh, in a discussion of
theistic belief, has said that attention has been confined almost entirely to the
question: "Does God exist ?" and to advancing proofs of the affirmative, while the
further question: "What is God?" is slurred over, if not ignored "as if there could be
no two opinions regarding that; whereas in truth there is two hundred opinions," and
as many more, it might be added, as there are believers who think as well as believe.
The older divines allotted long chapters in their ponderous tomes to the discussion of
the "attributes of God," but they were not so much concerned with proofs of His
existence. Not that they omitted them, for being systematists they covered every part
of the field, but in their day God and the devil and heaven and hell were taken for
granted by everyone. Even so late as 1750 Hume did not formally deny the existence
of God; he was called atheistic because his philosophy left no place for a Deity.
The Deism of two hundred years ago undertook to account for everything by reason,
and to prove God's existence by a "natural" theology. In this, the early Rationalists
attempted nothing really new, but their "orthodox" opponents felt that they tended in
effect to belittle revelation and to exalt human reason. The controversy is of little
interest today, for the descendants of the orthodox stand in positions far more
advanced (did they but know it) than the Deists and Rationalists of the past.
WHAT IS ATHEISM
When a man calls himself an atheist the first thought of the present writer is to inquire
what he means exactly, for curious as it may seem to those who have not examined
closely— and, it may be added, fearlessly —what their own beliefs imply, this is neither
obvious, nor in general easily defined. The atheist, even within the memory of those
who do not yet care to think of themselves as old, was once regarded as something
monstrous, inhuman, beyond the pale. Indeed as something essentially and wilfully
diabolical, partaking of the character (and destined to the fate) of the spirits of evil.
He was a pariah, a moral leper, a thing apart, amazing, inexplicable, repulsive, and
yet an object of intense interest, horrible and fascinating, like a drowned man, a
hanging, a fatal accident, or one the like things that draw a crowd and excite the so-
called morbid curiosity that is normal to 85 per cent of the race, and probably
suppressed in most of the remainder.
Just as sex novels now, two generations ago writers were putting out stories about
heroes and heroines who came through storm and stress to the haven of faith, or
through storm and stress made shipwreck of it; of clergymen who were forced by an
irresistible passion for truth to give up their religious beliefs, or infidels who,
following the same guide, came back to the fold. These novels were incomparably
better written than their counterparts today, it took more ability and more courage to
do it well, yet they are completely forgotten. Chiefly it would appear because the
whole mental atmosphere has so changed that the questions thus dealt with now seem
fantastic and unreal to the generality of the reading public, and leave us wondering at
what the world was like in those days. Even our most fundamentally minded religious
reactionaries have built themselves mental and moral houses and planted
metaphorical vineyards on the very ground that was then being tom up by the front-
line fighting— if a military metaphor may be permitted— and poisoned by mephitic
clouds of abuse.
THE CHARACTER OF DEISM
It is true that the eighteenth century was characterized, at least among the cultured
and intellectual, by an essential infidelity; but it was a superficial attitude, more than
willing to conform to custom and convention. To go to church was fashionable, to
profess plain disbelief was bad form. Instead of doing this men invented Deism. God
made the world, as a clockmaker makes a clock, he wound it up, and went away and
left it. Up to this time science was still in the descriptive stage— what happened when
an acid was put with an alkali, or copper and zinc in salt water. Botany and zoology
were still only classifying orders and species. In history and letters criticism was
becoming methodized in the matter of texts and documentation, and in the mass of
the elementary work that called to be done before further advance could be made,
while the more crucial questions had not even emerged— the questions of how and
Sooner or later, if men went on, there was bound to be a conflict-the conflict loosely
and inaccurately, though conveniently, called that of science and religion, really that
between scientific hypotheses and traditional religious formulas. The first great battle
(there had been preliminary skirmishes) was fought over Darwin's theory of
evolution— not, it should be noted, over evolution itself, for that was no new idea— but
its cause and mode of operation. The eighteenth century had been an age of polite and
shallow philosophical doubt, the nineteenth was one of an earnest but materialistic
passion for truth. So much had been achieved by slow patient gathering of tested
facts, that by reaction and contrast any conclusion not reached in this way was held to
be inadmissible, to be put on the docket as suspect if not sentenced out of hand to
rejection. It depended on temperament which procedure was followed, but the
tendency of the period was to deny all that could not be proved by scientific methods,
that is subjected to repeated and controlled experiment and producing results
measurable with scale and balance. Today, what with theories of relativity that
dismiss time and space as mere abstractions without essential reality, and physical
hypotheses that picture the atom, the ultimate unit of matter, as an indefinitely minute
but very complex solar system consisting of still smaller, very much smaller ions, or
particles of negative electricity (if a particle of electricity is conceivable) revolving at
inconceivable velocities about a proton or particle of positive electricity, the solid
material universe that seemed so ultimate to the preceding generation is well on the
way to dissolving into the substance of which dreams are made.
THE SUBSTANCE OF ATHEISM
It was said above that it is not really clear what atheism means. It is quite true that
most self-styled atheists think they know, as do their theological opponents,
nevertheless it is one of those conceptions that the closer it is examined the more and
more indefinite and vague it becomes. There is the fool who has said in his heart that
there is no God, who is the same person, presumably, barred by Freemasonry as a
"stupid atheist." But this atheism is not to be dignified as a mental attitude, it is
merely an expression of the wishes and desires of the pure materialist, who sees
nothing in life but selfish advancement and sensual enjoyment. So far as Freemasonry
is concerned his character bans him in any case, he is not worth argument, but merely
What then is atheism from an intellectual standpoint ? We must remember that
through the ages many men have been so stigmatized because they rejected
conceptions of the Deity that were degraded or mistaken; it is an easy way to get rid
of an opponent whose arguments are hard to answer, and whose conclusions are
disturbing. These men are not properly to be classed with those who profess atheism,
and it may be well to consider what these last are trying to do. Only the half-hearted
and those of little faith will fear them.
An illuminating example is before us today. Certain good people have been much
exercised and horrified at the spread of an organization among students in our
universities for the propagation of this creed— for this atheism is held with all the
fervor of a religious belief. Questioned as to what they seek to do the reply is that
they want to get rid of the idea of "a big man up above in Heaven." One wonders
what kind of religious instruction they have come in contact with, but if that is what
they are attacking in this day and age, one can only say "In God's name let them get
on with it." Again, take Robert Ingersoll, once a name to conjure with (both for
blessing and cursing) but now almost forgotten. A winning orator and a pleasing
writer, his arguments were shallow, and in truth effective only against the futilities
and finalities that had formed as excrescencies about the orthodoxies of the day. One
can believe that in the divine Providence he had his place and his work. But again,
with such as he we need not concern ourselves.
SCIENTIFIC INTERPRETATIONS OF THE UNIVERSE
A much more weighty opponent to religion was Ernst Haeckle, whose achievements
in biology and whose weighty reasoning put him in an altogether different class. He
did not call himself an atheist, but a monist. A monist is not necessarily an atheist, but
a materialistic monist is practically the same thing, so far as the position of either can
be made clear. It must be remembered that when Haeckle wrote the books that have
been translated and read in so many languages, the newer physics had not come into
being. The atom was still the ultimate unit of matter, and it was still regarded as an
exceedingly minute body, impenetrable, indestructible, having, so it was uncritically
assumed, all the properties of larger bodies. With these atoms alone he tried to
account for the universe, and life and generation, and will and desire, and love and
hate and thought and moral good and evil. It was a great attempt, and convinced
many and apparently satisfied himself; but in reality it was a failure. For without
telling his readers, apparently, indeed, quite unknown to himself, he in the course of
his argument, here a little and there a little, imported into his bare material atoms all
the potentialities of life. Had he only gone a step or two further his monism would
have ended at least in pantheism if not theism. Incidentally, from sundry incidental
glimpses he gives into his own spiritual history it is fairly clear that his passionate
enmity to religion was due to the utterly impossible teaching he received in its name
as a child.
Herbert Spencer took, in his own way, the step at which Haeckle stopped short. He
may be labeled as agnostic— a conception, by the way, no more clear on examination,
than atheist. To him God was the Absolute— the unknowable origin of all things,
agreeing thus far with the theologians, and here he stopped short and parted company,
of no practical concern to mankind. For Spencer could not conceive the Absolute
being interested in ephemeral beings of time and space. Space is here wanting to
discuss his position, if not time also, but with the same materials he showed it was
logical to go on to postulate the existence of some kind of Deity which the biologist
Haeckle had failed to see.
But we need concern ourselves no further with either writer, influential as both have
deservedly been, for the scientific conceptions on which their systems were based
have crumbled and in their place we have the new physics. It is true that there is a
clinging to the past, and that present day scientists, as a class, seem as alien from
religion as ever, but the battleground is a new one, and the strategy and tactics of both
sides are changing accordingly. Scientists as such still see no place in the universe for
God, but their ideas of the ultimate constitution of matter are far more spiritual in
truth than the spiritual conceptions of many who pride themselves on their religious
orthodoxy. But it must be remembered (scientists themselves do not always
remember though more inclined to do so than in the past) that the scientific field of
investigation is a strictly limited one, and inevitably the results are limited, too.
THE WAY TO THEISM
The common sense of mankind insists that a cause must be found for everything, and
eventually a final first cause. The scientist is apt to reply that to seek for a final cause
is a meaningless problem. It is, from the purely scientific point of view— but there are
wider prospects than that— there is life and human relationships, for example, and like
matters. From such standpoints the question does have meaning, meaning of the
utmost importance. Scientists profess great contempt for metaphysics, but it might be
better for them if they knew more of philosophy, for they are now beginning, rather
crudely, to tackle particular cases of some of the problems that metaphysicians have
been discussing generally for centuries, and on which they have reached at least as
much agreement as physicists have in their theories.
The scientist objects to religion that it is a matter of faith based on human needs and
intuitions and emotions, backed by traditions and books of uncertain history written
by men subject to human limitations and liability to error. It is all uncertain,
compared to a chemical experiment or a proposition in Euclid. The scientist seeks
certainty; but he is not alone, for so does everyone else. The easiest way to obtain it,
and perhaps the only way, is to manufacture it— that is to say, to believe. Really
nothing is certain. Once Euclid's propositions and chemical experiments were
supposed to be, but that day is past. There are, it is true, practical certainties, and
these are the more probably certain in inverse ratio to their importance in human life.
Strictly speaking nothing can be proved, for we must always start with something
unproved that is taken for granted. Everything can be proved if the appropriate
postulates are laid down and accepted-we can prove the existence of space of the
fourth, or the nth dimension, and equally the existence of God. But the grounds of any
proof of anything can always be criticized, and are open to rejection.
But human beings even scientists and philosophers —are chiefly and primarily
concerned, not with the world of magnetic fields of force, or kinds of dimensional
space, or the orbits of ions in the atom, and quanta and such things, but with the world
in which they live and work, and with the elementary passions, desires, emotions, and
with thought and feeling and life and death, and that most amazing and wonderful
thing of all, love. Love, unselfishness, benevolence, pity. In this world, so complex,
so limitless, we have to find our way, and our only guide is some kind of faith, some
kind of general hypothesis that postulates a meaning to it all, and that meaning leads,
by whatever way we go, to some conception of God. That is if we follow it to the end.
ABSTRACT CONCEPTIONS OF GOD
Atheism then is really negligible. The juvenile excesses of college clubs certainly are.
Serious denial of some adequate origin and spiritual environment of the things of
most concern to us may be said to be almost non-existent. But the orthodox are not
satisfied, however. They object to God being conceived as an abstract First Cause, or
an Absolute, or an originating Energy. God is more than a bare abstraction they say. It
is curious to note that such objectors generally use other abstractions to express their
own conception even in the same breath as when condemning these. One prosperous
and growing religious body (not regarded as orthodox, though) persistently (after its
founder) calls God by the term Principle. Principle might be called the very
abstraction of an abstraction. A principle of energy or force is more abstract than
force or energy taken by themselves. But truly no abstraction remains bare when it is
used as a term for God. Just as Haeckle imported life and mind into bare dead matter
so other qualities creep into Energy or Cause or whatever it may be when regarded as
the ultimate origin of the world. Truth is as much a bare abstraction as Force, and it is
freely used by the orthodox as a term for God, and with some scriptural warrant.
The scholastic theologians laid down different ways of arriving at the divine
attributes— one they called via negative, the way of negation. God being infinite could
not be this or that, because every term of qualification is also a limit. By itself, this
leads to the Absolute of the philosophers, which is bare enough and abstract enough,
and the Ain Soph of the Kabbalah, Who, or perhaps Which, is beyond thought and
even existence. But the method of Negation was balanced by that of Eminence. God
is everything preeminently, the most Holy, most Perfect, most Just, most Merciful,
beyond all human conception. True the two sets of conceptions are not easy to
reconcile in a logical scheme, but then nothing is easy to systematize once we get
beyond the apparent solidities and accepted verities of every-day life.
But there are inadequate conceptions of God, it is objected. Truly there are. All
conceptions are inadequate; but we naturally hold our own to be more adequate than
those we object to. The old theologians, who were no fools for all their dullness and
prolixity, claimed that every attribute of God could be deduced from any one of them;
if a man hold but one he potentially holds all, and may arrive at them if he goes on
thinking. Nevertheless there are certain well defined kinds of belief about God,
pantheism, theism, dualism, pluralism. But here again the borders are vague. The
Christian doctrine of Divine Immanence verges closely on Pantheism and it takes
very close and rather artificial definition to keep them apart. Much Christian
theology, too, is dualistic in its fear to face the problem of evil. If men had more
Christian charity and less conceit of their own definitions there would be less
disagreement. But just as we build houses and shut ourselves within four walls and a
roof, so we construct orthodoxies, and hold by formulas to shut our fellow believers
in and our opponents out. God as working in all men throughout all the ages is too
large a conception for us, and we seek refuge from this blinding vision of infinity in
our own precise definitions and limitations, pitifully inadequate as they necessarily
and inevitably must be.
The practical atheist we have ever with us. He is to be found in our churches in the
most prominent pews, sometimes in the pulpit and at the altar. He is to be found in
Masonic Lodges in spite of all formulas and professions of faith. To the man who
denies God in his life, profession comes easily enough when it serves his purpose—
and he may all the time regard himself as a pillar of the faith, as a perfectly squared
stone in the temple. The theoretical atheist is a man seeking the truth; and if he keeps
on seeking he will find, when he least expects it, that he has been walking with God
all the time, and that God was guiding him. A hard doctrine, my masters, for what
becomes of our comfortable formulas of creed and doctrine? Nevertheless it was the
Lord himself who said "He that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous
man shall receive a righteous man's reward." Truth is not an easy guide to follow, and
we all make compromises with error.
THE UNCAUSED CAUSE
But if everyone in the name of common sense must suppose some Origin, some
Cause, the question is whether such terms so used signify the same Existence or
Being that religion calls God. And here the way is indeed confusing, a very labyrinth.
One thing is sure, one man may mean much more by a First Cause than another does
by God. The Cause originating the universe must in some way be the Cause of
everything in it— and immediately the broad paths of Pantheism and Dualism open out
before us; and the problem of free will, and the origin of evil and the bases of
morality. Here we must all walk delicately in a fog of possibilities— that is if we thi nk .
Those who attach themselves, or are attached, to some system of belief and doctrine
find the way clear enough, and they are usually bitter in reprehending thought and
doubt and criticism in, exact proportion as they are in their own hearts doubtful of the
ground on which they stand. To discuss all these possibilities whole libraries have
been written, but there is one short cut just as safe as any. The practical atheist is he
who lives a selfish, self-seeking immoral life. The practical theist is he who in spite of
doubt and uncertainty sees and prefers and follows after the good. Not the man who
proclaims his virtue, but rather he who does not realize he has any yet esteems it in
others. It is true that Christian doctrine teaches that works are dead without faith. But
he who follows the good, not sure whether it has a permanent place in the universe,
unable to account for it, but believing that it is there and determined that he will cling
to it, that man is not far from God.
In the world as we know it there is something that is ignored by the exact and
physical sciences— necessarily ignored, for we can only think in compartments
—neither is it pertinent in biology; and that is personality. Unimportant as men may be
in the scale of cosmic distances and the magnitudes of nature, yet in our existence this
fact of personality outweighs them, all; or rather it is incommensurable with them,
being on another plane of existence. Yet it, too, calls for an origin and some proper
place, some environment of its own kind. God cannot be personal, it is said, because
personality, as we know it, implies limitation. Yet there must be that in His being
which accounts for personality and corresponds to it. Edouard Le Roy, a French
student of philosophy, in a little book entitled What Is Dogma? insists that, though
couched in the form of a statement addressed to the intellect, a dogma is essentially a
rule of conduct. The dogma that God is a person means that we should so conduct
ourselves in all things as if He were a person, that the relationship between the
individual and God may be all that a personal one is— and perhaps more.
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
This conception meets some difficulties, doubtless it leads to its own; for we walk in
a twilight of uncertainties and irreconcilable facts, the obscurity of the cave in Plato's
allegory, where only the shadows of things were seen. But ignoring the difficulties
and objections, and accepting, let us say, the superpersonality of the Deity as well as
His power or energy, what of His nature? Here again a new confusion, yet another
labyrinth. For in bulk the evil in the world seems to overwhelm good as matter
outweighs mind. Mankind has a strong tendency always to concentrate difficulties
into an uncriticized postulate. Thus the rationalist philosophy of a generation or so
ago accounted for everything very neatly on the basis of the science of the day,
simply lumping everything that did not fit into the scheme by the theory,
dogmatically asserted and defended with the true odium theologicum, that
consciousness was an epiphenomenon, an illusion, of no more account than the noise
of the whistle is to the running of a locomotive, which was Huxley's metaphor.
Similarly in many religious systems, including much systematic Christian theology,
the problem of the existence of evil was all concentrated in hell, in Satan, in Ahriman,
or some other fiend or devil. The difficulty was still there, however.
But it was suggested above that the apparent preponderance of matter over mind was
due to not perceiving that the two things are not in the same class, are on a different
level, and not properly to be compared. Perhaps good and evil are likewise on
different planes. Evil may be a function of the relationship of organisms, of living
entities somehow embodied, with the dead world of matter. The good may be the
proper functioning of these living entities apart from the physical and material. The
colorless word entity has been used, but obviously it here expresses what is known as
the spiritual, the soul. It is true the scientific mind objects that we have no conception
of the soul, that the meaning of the word, if meaning there be, is a complex of
confused ideas, images and projections. Nevertheless there is something over and
above physicochemical explanations, or even psychological, that requires a name. It
is there whether named or not, and its plane of existence is the good, and perhaps also
So coming back to our abstract Origin or First Cause, we must ascribe to It not only
the essentials of personality without the limitations, which ascription makes the
personal pronoun more appropriate, but we also must see in It, or Him, the source of
good— the good which is so much more than evil that but one instance of it shines
through all the world like a candle in the night.
But (never do we find anything clear-cut and definite, except as we make it so by
names and limitations) what is the Good ? We know it well enough when we meet it,
but what is it? How describe it, how fit it in to the logical scheme ? The lists of
virtues are rather haphazard, traditional, affairs; many that have names are no more
than embodiment of quite human conventions. God is the holy-but the holy is but an
idealized version of the taboo. He is righteous— another name for the good. He is the
just— another composite term of purely human and temporal reference. Is there
anything that is more fundamental? Anything that underlies the rest? As has been
said, theologians claim that all the attributes of God are deducible from any one of
them; and if these are, as it would seem from this, but different applications or
manifestations of the divine nature in the world, we can see how this should be so.
But there is one attribute, one quality, or perhaps more accurately, not an attribute but
a predicate, that seems more fundamental than holy, or true, or just and the rest,
although the theologians as a rule do not bring it out very clearly. It was first
expressed by the second of the two patrons of Masonry, St. John the Evangelist, in his
first epistle general, in the fourth chapter and the eighth and sixteenth verses. Those
inclined to the occult way may note the Pythagorean sequence, the square, the cube
and the fourth power of the dyad. As American Masons so value the Great Light there
will be no need to quote the passage, though it is but three short words.
A summing up may now be made. At the present time, whatever it might have been in
the past or may be in the future, atheism as an intellectual factor is practically non-
existent. The postulation of some cause, some originating energy, some all embracing
absolute is now generally made. The terms used are abstract, as they must be, but the
more such abstract conceptions are made to include in the concrete world, the greater
and more varied potentialities must be explicitly or implicitly imported into them; and
sooner or later the honest thinker will see and make explicit what is implied in his
postulates. Thus all roads lead eventually to God— if only the adventurer travel far
enough. That men do not always go far enough is too evident from every-day
experience, but it is not the fault of the road but of the traveler. We are hindered by all
kinds of irrelevant matters, prejudices, reactions, habits, wishes, inertia, and sheer
stupidity and obtuseness.
To the orthodox Christian this will not seem sufficient, very naturally. And reason
and thought cannot, by itself, lead to Christian belief. If Christianity be true— the
proviso is made advisedly— it is in a real and significant sense a revelation. It is in fact
a new complexity to add to an already complex universe. That is no argument against
it, it is only what a revelation would be. Nor does it mean that it cannot be fitted into
some intelligible scheme as well as electricity or radio-activity. It may even support
(as so many have thought) the theistic conclusions based on reflection upon, and
reasoning from, the every-day facts of the world. However this may be it does not call
to be discussed here, for Freemasonry does not require acceptance of Christianity. It
has been thus far notice however, because of the tendency of many good Mason in the
past as in the present, to more or less consciously import Christian ideas and beliefs
In the past it was supposed that no atheist could be a good man. Experience upsets
this naive belief, for many men so labeled were found to be virtuous, just moral and
upright. It would be safer to reverse the proposition and say no good man is really an
atheist whether so labeled or not. A simple test was once laid down; "by their fruits ye
shall know them." He who brings forth good fruit in his life has a practical faith in the
good, in which is also implicit an intellectual belief in the source of good— that is in
God, as the highest good men can conceive.
— o —
The Masonic Stone at Pompeii
FROM time to time references are made by Masonic writers, and sometimes by
others, to a supposed lodge-room discovered in the excavations at the buried city of
Pompeii. Recently two Canadian members of the Society communicated photographs
showing a "Masonic" stone also discovered there. One of these was also accompanied
by a newspaper clipping, which, with the usual inaccuracy of newspapers when they
go outside the beaten path, seemed to intimate that this stone and the supposed lodge-
room were connected. Bro. N.W.J. Haydon, who sent this clipping, suggested that the
matter needed some clearing up. The newspaper had a poor reproduction of the stone
which might have been taken from the same photograph as the illustration here
presented for which we are indebted to Bro. Irvine of Calgary. It may be remembered
that another view of the same stone was published in THE BUILDER, Vol. xi, page
173, with a note that information on the subject was to be desiderated. This earlier
view shows the position of the stone to be near the comer of the wall of a house. The
third of our illustrations here given shows its general position in the street, but does
not show the corner, which was evidently too near the camera to be included in the
Bro. J.S.M. Ward, who is one of the most interesting, and may we also say the most
imaginative of living Masonic authors, refers to this Pompeian Lodge, or alleged
Collegiate gild room, in a number of places. For instance, he says in Freemasonry and
the Ancient Gods:
In Pompeii we find what is practically a Masonic tracingboard and a significant
But the latter is not in the same building and has really nothing Masonic about it
except that one of the figures in the drawing he reproduces is standing in a position
which he believes was one of the original signs of Freemasonry. The said figure is
that of a woman, by the way. In a photographic copy of this fresco recently examined
(which differs considerably in details from the drawing) the gesture appears to be
merely a natural one of surprise. On a later page he says:
The building of the Collegia unearthed at Pompeii in 1878 has already been
described, but we will summarize and repeat the description.
There were two columns in front, and the walls were decorated with interlaced
triangles, the constant badge of the Masons. Upon a pedestal in the room was found a
tracing board of inlaid mosaic. In the center is a skull with a level and plumbline and
other symbolic designs.
The description referred to is as follows, and as it gives a description of the tracing-
board we will give it at length:
Among the ruins of ancient Pompeii is a building almost perfect, known locally as
"The Masonic Temple." It has received the name because of the discovery therein of a
peculiar mosaic table which can best be described as a tracing-board. It is made of
marble and inlaid with the following symbols: On a ground of grey green stone is a
human skull inlaid in grey black and white; above it is a level in colored wood, the
points however, being made of brass. From the top is suspended a plumb line;
beneath the skull is a six spoked wheel, on the upper rim of which is a butterfly . . .
On the left there is an upright spear from which hang a scarlet and also a purple robe .
. . On the right there is a thorn stick from which hangs a coarse piece of cloth in grey
brown and yellow, tied with cord and over it a leather knapsack.
It seems too bad to coldly criticize the romantic suggestion that in an ancient Roman
town there was a Masonic lodge room, with two pillars, and steps and pedestals and
tracing-boards all complete, but truth compels us to do so. There is nothing about the
house itself that distinguishes it especially from others. The two pillars were
obviously to support the roof, and are not the only ones in the building. The triangle,
single or interlaced, is not especially a Masonic symbol even though frequently
employed by Masons. On the so-called tracing-board there is but the level that is
unmistakably Masonic. The wheel and butterfly are certainly not. The skull, like the
triangle, was adopted among Masonic emblems in the eighteenth century, and while
the regal robes and beggar's staff and scrip do indeed parallel a reference in the
modern English lectures, this is obviously no more than a coincidence; for the earlier
form of the statement— "brother to a king, ... or a beggar, if a Mason and found
worthy" is quite different and has no suggestion of such a contrast of fortune.
As a matter of fact the dominating feature of the design is the wheel. In the Study
Club article in THE BUILDER for December, 1925, there was a reference to wheel
symbolism and its antiquity. In this mosaic we have obviously the wheel of fortune or
fate. Above it the skull, below the butterfly, the classic emblem of the soul. On the
left wealth and power, on the right poverty and indigence. Taken with these the level
can only be taken as having the same meaning as the balance. The level of time,
signifying that everything comes to the same end, in the dust of the grave.
Granted that there is much in the Masonic system as it is today that is closely
analogous to this, nevertheless it is all so obvious, it is such a commonplace of all
philosophic moralizing and proverbial wisdom that Masons can lay no exclusive
claim to it. As has been said there is but one certain, authentic, Masonic element in
the whole design, the level. That tools, including those of Masons, were frequently
depicted and popularly referred to in all times and places is probable in itself and can
be conclusively demonstrated in a great many instances. For instance, the use of the
word "square" to describe an individual or his character is a figurative expression
very common in the eighteenth century and in the seventeenth also. It could hardly at
that :have been borrowed from the Masons, as it might have been later when they
became if not notorious at least generally known to the world at large. Of more
ancient and more exotic instances we have often been told-China, Egypt and Ancient
Greece all give us examples. A single swallow does not bring the summer, and a
reference to a builder's working tool does not establish the existence of Freemasonry.
Had the "Masonic" stone been fixed in the wall of the Masonic temple, the case
would be somewhat stronger, though even then by no means conclusive. There is no
suggestion, however, that it is— and it would hardly have been overlooked. It is rather
crude work and from the photograph looks almost as if the original intention had been
to cut away the intervening stone and leave the emblems in relief. Most of the objects
represented are quite clear. Beginning at the left is a carpenter's auger of the old-
fashioned spoon type. Then comes a spade, the blade and its socket for the handle. To
the right of that at the top is what looks suspiciously like a phallos, at the bottom is an
inverted two-handled vase. Then comes the common A-shaped level with a
disproportionately large pear-shaped plumbbob. To the right of that at the bottom is
what is probably a reel for winding the line upon, a form of what English Masons call
the "skirret." Such reels appear on other classical representations of builders'
implements with spiral markings on them to indicate the cord wound on them. The
next object seems to be the head of a carpenter's adze, and if this is the right
interpretation the staff or baton next to it may be intended for the handle.
We have here a curious collection of emblems that certainly do seem to be chiefly
connected with building operations, but in truth seem more to appertain to carpenters
than to masons. It is indeed possible that the peculiar esoteric system out of which
modern Freemasonry has developed was originally common to all crafts connected
with building. There is much to be said for such a theory, but this does not support in
any way the supposition that Masonry as we know it, with its specially arranged
lodge rooms and their furnishings, was existent in remote ages.
We may ask what was the purpose of carving these objects on a stone and building
them into a wall— a wall of rough masonry without any architectural ornament ? There
was doubtless some significance in it, but was this anything like what we would call a
Masonic significance ? In the first place the representation of tools and implements in
carving and fresco was quite common. In Pompeii itself we have wall paintings
showing all kinds of occupations. The mill, and the baker's kneading trough and oven
is quite frequent. Kitchen implements and those of agriculture are found. We
reproduce here (Fig. 7) a panel found at Pompeii showing the paraphernalia of a
scribe, the wax tablets, stylus and eraser, with pen and inkpots. A basrelief from an
altar (Fig. 6) shows a smith at work, with an assistant blowing the forge. Tongs,
hammer and chisel are shown to the right and what is supposed to be a finished lock.
Curiously enough the tongs appear very frequently in conjunction with other objects
that were considered as powerful amulets against the Evil Eye. An example is given
in Fig. 5, which is from a terra cotta mould, of a type of which a number of specimens
exist with very similar designs. The tongs in this example are at the bottom, a little to
the right. These moulds are supposed to be intended for forming the tops of the terra
cotta lamps which are to be found in almost every museum. Among the other
emblems that constantly reappear in them and like designs are the vase and ladder. It
may seem also to give them a Masonic flavor to some brethren to know that the sun
and moon appear with equal frequency.
Another relief is reproduced, Fig. 2, which is very interesting in itself, as showing the
loading and unloading of ships in a Roman port. But the particular reason for
introducing it here is the incongruous eye placed under the yard arm of the smaller
ship. It does not belong to the ship as the sail is furled, and the eye just hangs in mid-
air. By itself it is rather in explicable, but in the light of other reliefs and designs its
intention becomes somewhat clearer. One of the most potent antidotes against the ill-
luck wrought by the Evil Eye was a representation of that Eye itself. Bro. Elworthy in
his book on the subject gives a very curious relief that was apparently originally built
into the wall of a house in Rome itself. In this the eye is of enormous size and the
dominating feature of the design. It is represented as being attacked by gladiators on
each side, and from below a number of animals also attack it, among them the
scorpion and crab of Mithraic reliefs. Above, upon the Eye itself, is a figure in a
Phrygian cap in a most realistic and Rabelaisian attitude, on account of which it
seemed wiser not to reproduce it. And this brings out another curiosity of the beliefs
concerning the Evil Eye, that obscenity in itself acted as an antidote, whether in word
or gesture, or representation. Bro. Elworthy has reproduced a multitude of charms
both modem (for the belief is still in full force in Italy) and ancient, and among them
the phallos, sometimes disguised, sometimes not, is very frequent. Among the many
charms the "Canopic" vase also seems to have been quite a favorite.
As the Evil Eye— which anyone might have quite innocently— was capable of almost
anything in the way of bad luck and misfortune, the counter-spells were very
important. Everything had to be protected, especially the weak and the valued.
Children were especially liable to the miasma, and young animals. Personal
ornaments were often also charms, horse furniture and trappings also bore
adornments of the same character. But not only the living, but inanimate things
needed protection also, and among these houses and temples. Curious it seems to us
that the gods should need charms to protect their own property, but so it was. While
the luck of a house— and of those who dwelt in it— might be entirely reversed by a
passing malignant glance; hence the addition of ornaments or objects that the Greeks
called akroteria. Indeed the tradition lasted on into Christian ages, and churches were
sometimes invested with the traditional protection— sometimes of precisely the same
character— and battered and defaced carvings of this kind are still to be found here and
there on old churches.
The theory of these protective charms seems to have been that they acted as a kind of
spiritual lightning conductor. They drew the malignant power of the Evil Eye to
themselves and absorbed it. It would seem that almost any object that would attract
attention would serve in this way; as for example one powerful protection against
both the Eye and witchcraft is a tangled ball of thread or twine, and if it be scarlet
woolen yarn so much the better. An elaborate interlaced pattern, that showed neither
beginning nor end, had a like efficacy. Probably the composite charms, such as that in
Fig. 5, not only combined the virtue of each individual emblem in itself, but as a
whole had the virtue of complexity, which puzzles the first glance and draws attention
to the picking out of the different objects represented.
Coming now to the interpretation of the "Masonic" stone; in view of these facts it
would seem most probable that its main purpose was to protect the house into the
wall of which it was built. We have two objects in it that are known to be such
charms, the phallos and the canopic vase. For the rest it is rather hard to say. We have
one certain case of implement or tool used in this way— the blacksmith's tongs. But
their efficacy may be derived from the fact that they are made of iron— itself potent
against witchcraft, and also have to do with fire, which is both purifying and
protective. It is possible to guess that the other objects simply helped to draw
attention, and that their choice was due to the occupation of the owner of the house. If
so, we must assume that he was a carpenter. For the line and level belong just as
much to a builder in wood as in stone, and the auger and adze are certainly not
mason's tools. Whether this suggestion be accepted or not however, we can take it as
certain that this stone had nothing to do with Masonry as we know it.
— o —
Freemasonry and Fascism
THE Freimaurer Zeitung of Vienna had in April an account of the trial of General
Capello for complicity in the insane attempt made by Zaniooni to assassinate
Mussolini. The May number was almost entirely devoted to the history of the
relations between Freemasonry and Fascism in Italy down to the martyrdom, for it is
nothing less, of General Capello and Grand Master Torrigiani.
The present article is not an exact translation, for the matter has been considerably
rearranged in order to make it easier to follow for those who know little or nothing of
the circumstances of the tragedy, nevertheless it follows the original in the relation of
DURING the disturbances that marked the initial clash between the then triumphant
Socialism and the rising forces of Fascism, Signore Torrigiani, Grand Master of
Italian Freemasonry, addressed a circular letter to the Italian lodges, dated Dec. 21,
1921. In this letter he recommended to them the following principles:
Violence can never be sanctioned. Circumstances may arise when force has to be
repelled by force. However, this should never become a normal political campaign
method. Fascism in its beginning appeared to be a political necessity, a deliverance at
a time when a state of anarchy and the establishment of the dictatorship of the
proletariat had to be opposed. For that reason many Masons joined the ranks of
Fascism. The brethren are not prohibited from remaining in the Fascist camp. But
they must always regard it as their duty to try to prevent Fascism from degenerating
Ten months later, on Oct. 19, 1922, Grand Master Torrigiani issued another letter to
the Italian lodges in which he warned against the terroristic tendencies in Fascism.
To become a Freemason, one has to be devoted to the ideals of patriotism and of
liberty. This does not imply that one has to identify himself with one or another
political faction. In our ranks there is room for the most divergent political creeds.
As in everything else, so also in our stand towards Fascism we have always the
welfare of the fatherland before our eyes. Our aim was always to eliminate all venom
in the political campaign, to oppose acts of terrorism and to promote liberty. We
desired to propagate the ideals of humanity and the spirit of fraternity in the nation.
These are still today the principles by which we are guided in our endeavor. For that
reason we hope that the Fascist theories will not assume a form that means a slap in
the face of our conception of democracy and freedom. We hope that they will not aim
at dictatorship and oligarchy.
Meanwhile Bro. Maruzzi, Grand Archivist of the Grand Orient, had drawn up a
declaration of faith of the Italian Masonry. It is based on the Ancient Charges and
presents in a condensed form the cardinal principles of Masonry. He grouped them
into five sets of rules which he called the "Five Points of the Masonic Brotherhood."
These principles are identical with those professed by Masonry all over the world.
Belief in a Supreme Being. Love of our neighbor, of our country, of humanity. The
golden rule: Do unto others what you would that others do unto you. The freedom of
conscience and of speech. Respect for the opinion of others. Sincere devotedness to
truth, to what is beautiful, what is good. The moral uplift and material progress of
humanity. Equal rights for all. Social justice.
When early in 1923 the lodges of the Grand Orient convened to consider, among,
other things, a revision of the constitution, the delegates of the Symbolic Rite (St.
John's Lodges) adopted Maruzzi's Five Points as basic principles. The General
Convent of the Grand Orient unanimously approved of this.
Having agreed on these principles, the Grand Convent now considered their
application to the problem of Fascism. After protracted debates a communique was
issued on Feb. 3, 1923. It contained the following passage:
The General Convent discussed under the presidency of the Grand Master the
question, how our conception of the duty towards our country has to be interpreted at
this crisis in the national life. The very exhaustive, fruitful debate, in which brethren
in high political position participated, showed, as the Grand Master in his final
address summarized it, that Masonry can never develop into a political party, that, on
the contrary, it must in the interest of the ideal of patriotism always stand above the
parties. Therefore also at this hour that exhibits all the symptoms of a revolution, the
Masonic Society may not and can not abandon its tradition that our civil life is firmly
founded on the principle of the sovereignty of the people.
This statement, of course, implied a challenge to Fascism which aimed at the
establishment of an oligarchic dictatorship.
THE FASCIST HIGH COUNCIL MOVES
The stand taken by the Grand Orient was duly noted by the Fascists. Ten days after
the issuance of the above cited communique, the High Fascist Council, in its session
of Feb. 13, 1923, dwelt on the subject of Fascism in its relation to Freemasonry.
Under the presidency of Mussolini, after a long debate, the following resolution was
The High Council of Fascism has in its discussion of the subject of Fascism and
Freemasonry decreed: The latest political events and the attitude and certain decrees
issued by Freemasonry have convinced us that Masonry is pursuing a program and
methods adverse to the ideals and activities of Fascism. Therefore, the High Council
of Fascism calls upon the Fascists who are Freemasons to choose between
membership in the National Fascist Party and membership in the Masonic Society.
For the Fascists there can exist only one discipline that of Fascism, only one
hierarchy, that of Fascism, and only one obedience, an absolute, submissive and ever
ready obedience to the Duce and other leaders of Fascism.
THE GRAND MASTER SECONDS THE MOTION
On Feb. 18, 1923--five days after the High Fascist Council had published its
communique the directors of the Grand Orient convened in session to deliberate on
the newly created situation. The following measure was agreed on:
The Fascist brethren have full liberty to sever their connections with Freemasonry, so
that they may continue to serve loyally the cause of Fascism. Those who will take that
step will prove thereby that in the lodges the love of their country has been inculcated
into them as their supreme command.
At this parting of the ways, many Fascist Masons, mostly youthful enthusiasts,
decided to cast in their lot with Fascism. But the by far greater number turned their
back on Mussolini, though by doing so they renounced all prospects of a successful
political career and other advantages that Fascism, now in power, held out to them.
They cheerfully made this sacrifice in steadfast loyalty to the ideals of the
brotherhood of man. Prominent among these Masons who left the Fascist camp were
Cesare Rossi, Balbo and Acerbo, all three of them directors in the High Fascist
Council, and the popular General Lugi Capello, the martyr of Masonry.
Shortly afterwards, Grand Master Torrigiani published his Gray Book entitled,
Massoneria e Fascismo (Masonry and Fascism), Rome, 1923. He submits therein to
the general public his entire material on the subject of Fascism.
In the preface of this Gray Book he replies to the fanatics who ferociously assailed the
Masonic Order without being acquainted with its tenets and practices. He refers to
Wolfstieg's Bibliographic der Freimaurerei (Bibliography of Freemasonry) that
enumerates over 40,000 volumes of Masonic literature. They contain an immense
mass of material on the idea of humanity. Many of them are to be found in the public
libraries. But how many among the countless enemies of Masonry have ever taken the
trouble of consulting such books ?
Several months passed without anything of consequence taking place. But
occasionally there appeared in newly, founded Fascist papers various attacks on the
Grand Orient. But towards the end of 1923 and early in 1924 serious excesses of
Fascist troops against the meeting places of their political adversaries occurred. A
considerable number of Masonic lodges were victimi z ed. Be it remarked though that
the official Fascism strongly disapproved of these acts of violence.
First the temples of the lodges "Giuseppe Mazzoni," in Prato, and "Ferruccio," in
Pistoia, were demolished. In Termoli the valuable library of the lodge "Ernesto
Nathan" was destroyed. The lodge in Monteleone, in Calabrie, was entered during a
military celebration. The furniture was smashed, the pictures of Mazzoni and
Garibaldi, lodge emblems, insignia and the like were carried as trophies through the
streets to Fascist headquarters. Also the home of the two lodges of the Grand Orient
in Lucca were visited by a mob. The great triangle above the chair of the Master was
pulled down and thrown on the Piazza Napoleone. The following morning policemen
carried the insignia to the city hall. The mayor, a Fascist, severely condemned the
action of the mob, expressed his official regrets to the Master of the Lodge
"Francesco Burlamacchi" and ordered the stolen articles to be returned. Thereupon
the Master sent him 1900 lire to be distributed among ten poor families of the city,
emphasizing the necessity of political and religious peace. This letter, that was copied
by numerous journals, met with the liveliest sympathy in all circles.
Nevertheless, a few days later fresh riots broke out in San Severo. The temple of the
lodge "Luigi Zuppetta" was completely demolished, the archives destroyed, the
furniture smashed and then burned.
Finally, during the night of the 23rd to the 24th of January, 1924, the rooms of the
lodges in Turin were ransacked. The furniture and the archives of four lodges were
carried away on an auto truck.
In a letter dated Jan. 31, 1924, Grand Master Torrigiani now appealed to the Minister
of Justice for help. The latter replied in a very amiable communication on Feb. 3,
stating that he had issued orders to the respective authorities to send him their reports
at once. He seems to have taken his time about investigating and none of the rioters
were punished. No wonder that the riots continued with increased fury. Wild scenes
were enacted in Milan, Bologna, Venice, Arezzo, Livorno, Perugia, Foligno, Spoleto,
Forli, Bari, Tarento, Andria and other places. It soon became manifest that these
excesses were not sporadic, but were carried out under a preconceived plan and
In the beginning of August, 1924, the High Fascist Council, under the presidency of
Mussolini, occupied itself again with the subject of Fascism and Freemasonry. In the
session of Aug. 5, Deputy Caprino declared:
The attitude of Fascism towards Masonry cannot remain an academic question. It
must pass beyond the stage of mere protests and resolutions. It is necessary that the
secret societies be suppressed whose existence is possible only under a liberal
The following resolution of Bodrero was then adopted:
1. Fascists cannot join Freemasonry. 2. Those Fascists who are Masons must quit
Masonry at once, 3. Fascists who can supply the government with information
concerning Masons who are active against the government are not permitted to
discontinue this their duty.
On Sept. 16, 1924, Torrigiani addressed a letter to Mussolini protesting against the
outrages perpetrated against the Masonic lodges. He called attention to the fact that
even Fascist members of the parliament marched at the head of the mobs that pillaged
the Masonic homes. He reminded the Duce of the merits of Italian Masonry during
the World War. We quote:
Your Excellency will no doubt remember our indefatigable work during the war
when, after the reverses at Caporetto, defeatism lifted its head. At that time high
praise was bestowed upon us. Again we earned that for the welfare of our country in
the heavy post-war crisis when we stood up bravely against the men who set out to
establish in Italy the dictatorship of one class, when we with our full force opposed to
those subversive ideas our ideals of freedom and democracy. We feel that we have a
right to be respected by the men who are at the steering wheel today. We have always
advocated respect for every sincere conviction, tolerance towards the views of others,
humanity and kindness towards our fellow men. These principles ought to be
respected by the government also in these days when the fever heat of factional strife
is coloring our streets with blood.
We have been falsely accused of being enmeshed in international ties, of placing
foreign interests above our domestic ones. These are lies the groundlessness of which
can be easily proven.
We assume willingly the "guilt" of being guardians of the ideals that have made Italy
great, of the ideals of liberty, of the sovereignty of the people, of the independence of
the state from dictation by an ecclesiastical hierarchy, of equal rights for all. These
principles of ours should not prevent your Excellency from applying the laws also for
DOMIZIO TORRIGIANI, Grand Master.
Torrigiani's appeal to Mussolini produced no results. The authorities pretended to be
indignant over the "irresponsible elements" staging the riots and promised
deliverance, but a few days later fresh acts of terrorism were "pulled off." The
ransacking of the lodge building in Florence aroused indignation throughout the
world. Nevertheless the outrages continued in Genoa, Pisa, Venice, Perugia, Bologna,
Palermo, to name but a few places. In Livorno a bomb was exploded at the entrance
to the lodge rooms. In Rome, the Palazzo Giustiniani, the home of the Grand Orient,
was during several nights attacked by Fascist bands who were armed with revolvers
and stilettos and led to the "battlefield" in auto trucks. Only by a large contingent of
carabinieri the assaults were warded off. Nobody was arrested, much less indicted.
The fact that these outrages were silently tolerated by the authorities justified the
suspicion that an official blow at Freemasonry was being prepared. It came soon. A
commission was appointed to collect material about Freemasonry. It shortly
published the results of its investigation in a memorandum, the principal item in
which was this: Freemasonry is entitled to no credit for the great risorgimento or
national renascence of Italy in the nineteenth century.
The brethren of the Grand Orient evinced no fear in the face of the threatening storm.
They continued to oppose the idea of a dictatorship. They continued to assert their
conviction that a sane and sound government cannot be founded on terrorism, but
only on democracy. Insistence on this principle marked the speech which Torrigiani
delivered before a gathering of several hundred Masons in Milan in December, 1924.
This address was communicated to the press. He declared that Fascism meant morally
and intellectually a step backwards for Italy and that it was irreconcilable with
On this last point both camps agreed, namely, that membership in the Masonic order
was incompatible with membership in the Fascist party. And both camps drew the
necessary practical deduction, to- wit, that Fascist Masons must renounce either the
one organization or the other. In consequence, Bro. Dudan, a member of the High
Fascist Council, was expelled from his lodge when he persisted in regarding the
difference between the two organizations as a mere academic question. The Fascist
Council equally disciplined officers and officials who were tardy in renouncing
The great blow came when on Jan. 10, 1925, the cabinet introduced the anti-Masonic
bill in the parliament. It was hailed with wild applause by the Fascist press.
"Freemasonry is now outlawed in Italy !" exultantly exclaimed the Idea Nazionale.
And on the other hand, several prominent papers, even of the government party, like
the Messagero, opposed the proposed measure. They urged moderation. The
followers of Mussolini kept up their aspersions on Masonry. Fresh charges were
raised against it. Even the recent fall of the lira was imputed to a Masonic plot.
Nothing was too absurd, no statement too extravagant. And echoes of the accusations
were heard elsewhere.
(To be continued)
— o —
R.J. MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
E.E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor
BOARD OF EDITORS
LOUIS BLOCK, Iowa
ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
R.V. HARRIS, Canada
C. C. HUNT, Iowa
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
A. L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
F. H. LITTLEFIELD, Missouri
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
J. HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
JESSE M. WHITED, California
DAVID E. W WILLIAMSON Nevada
A DESERVED HONOR
AMONG American Masons interested in educational work the name of Bro. Blight
will be familiar. He has been doing a remarkable work in California as Executive
Director of the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Education. It will be a pleasure
to all who know or know of him and his work, to learn that the University of Los
Angeles has conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. THE
BUILDER extends to him its heartiest congratulations on this fitting acknowledgment
both of his services to the Craft and the educational world at large.
* * *
THE NEW ADDRESS
ONCE more we would draw attention to the changed address of the Society's
Headquarters, and especially we ask the editors of the periodicals with whom we
exchange THE BUILDER to note the fact and act accordingly if they have not
already done so. It makes unnecessary work for the post-office as well as delaying the
* * *
ONCE A MASON ALWAYS A MASON
THIS is a saying with a respectable antiquity of tradition behind it. True, it is not very
often heard among us now, except perhaps among the older members of country
lodges, nor has it ever been incorporated in any official pronouncement or formula.
Nevertheless it comes down to us as one of the apothegms, or pithy utterances, in
which our Masonic forbears gave expression to their conception of what Masonry
was and what it implied.
Every living organism, and every institution that is alive, is subject to the changes
enforced by the changes in its environment; there is no standing still, and Masonry
being alive is subject also to this law. Yet the conservatism and the clinging to ancient
tradition that marks the Fraternity is also a real functioning force. We cannot stand
still in a moving world, but our ancient constitutions and landmarks determine the
lines upon which we advance. It is therefore not without reason that we are all taught
to look to them and keep them ever in mind.
There are many things about the Craft as an organization that are widely different
from other societies and fraternities. The new members of the Order are constantly
bringing in ideas derived from their previous knowledge and experience. It is an
elementary function of the lodge to teach them that such ideas do not belong to
Masonry. For an example, it is not of very great or fundamental importance but will
serve to show what is meant, in conducting its business affairs the lodge acts as a
democratic deliberative assembly. The Master presides, and to the young Mason he
seems to have the same position as the chairman or president of other bodies. It may
be some time before he learns, and it may be only in "butting into it" himself, that the
Master is much more than a chairman, that he decides at discretion what business
shall be discussed, in what order, and who shall speak and when, and that there is no
appeal against his ruling or decisions except to the Grand Master and the Grand
In most other societies and associations the bond between the individual and the
group to which he belongs is not a very strong one. A man joins easily, and departs in
the same way, and that ends it. There is an alarming tendency among us today to view
the Masonic tie in a similar manner. It is from one point of view only an aspect, a
constituent part, of that general development which has led on the one hand to the
influx of such large numbers of men into the Craft, and on the other to the disquieting
increase in the percentage of Masons suspended for non-payment of dues. In most
societies to cease to pay one's quota to meet the expenses of the organization is to
cease to be a member, and it is natural that the same way of, looking at the
relationship should creep in, and even find explicit expression as it sometimes does.
But in Masonry, there is much more than this financial bond, this "cash nexus," as
Carlyle, in another connection, phrased it. In times past a clear distinction was made
between membership in the Fraternity and in a lodge. Initiation did not automatically
make a man a member of the lodge in which he received light. The distinction still
remains even though the regulations of our Grand Lodges now make the two things
concurrent; election to the degrees is also election to membership, initiation is
tantamount to becoming a member. Yet a Mason can always sever his connection
with his lodge, and his lodge can always suspend him for not paying his dues. Here
again disciplinary measures have been extended. Originally such suspension was only
from that particular lodge, his standing as a Mason in other lodges was not affected,
but now as an additional sanction, and a self-protpeting measure, all lodges have
agreed to honor the suspensions of each one, for that in effect is what the various
Grand Lodge edicts, statutes and regulations on the subject amount to, so that in
effect a man suspended in one lodge is suspended from the Craft. The danger is that
this practical consequence may be used as a basis for argument that, being practically
(though not theoretically) suspended from the Craft through the fact of his suspension
being effective in all lodges, it follows that he is no longer a Mason, and is as much
out of the Fraternity as if he had never been in it.
Although this general effect of local suspension has found a place in the ritual (there
has been a marked tendency among American ritualists to insert the expression of
new laws into our ancient formulas) yet it ought not to be interpreted in a way that
nullifies other, and more authoritative utterances.
Too often the ritual is regarded as something merely to be learned and repeated; even
its plain and obvious sense is often ignored. Naturally we must here speak darkly and
allusively, but let our readers consider the relevant places and what is stated. They
will see on consideration that first of all every Mason takes upon himself voluntarily,
and after due warning phrased in the most emphatic language possible, certain
obligations that he can never thereafter repudiate or lay aside. He may cease to pay
dues, he may cease to be interested, he may forget all about it, he may even become
hostile, nevertheless - because they were voluntary - those obligations remain morally
binding upon him so long as he lives.
The next thing to notice is that these obligations are not to an institution, to an
organization, but to individuals - to sum them all up they bind him to regard, and act
towards, every other Mason as if each and every one was his own blood brother - and
it is just as irrevocable and unescapable as blood relationship. However much it may
be ignored, forgotten and disregarded, however unworthy a man may prove to be, so
far as these obligations are concerned, once a Mason is to be always a Mason, even if
suspended, and even if expelled.
* * *
ONE of our contemporaries, the Masonic Tidings of Milwaukee, reports an address
given by Bro. Leo. F. Nohl before the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, of which it says
that it was "easily the sensation of the 83rd Annual Communication" of that body. We
confess we do not wonder at this, though many Masons may be inclined to ask why it
should be so. The following quotation, however, shows the nature of the sensation:
Bro. Nohl, speaking, as he said, for the rank and file of the Craft, expressed some of
the heretofore unexpressed sentiments of the members.
He challenged the right of organized Masonry here to be regarded as one of the
foremost charitable institutions.
He charged it with absolute failure to provide a suitable outlet for the social and
cultural aspirations of its members.
He charged the Masters and Wardens of constituent lodges . . with neglect of their
Masonic duties in failing to properly consider and prepare for the discharge of their
duties at Grand Lodge Communications.
He severely criticized Masonic officials in this [Wisconsin] and other Grand
Jurisdictions for neglect in failing to advocate and work for a centralized Masonic
authority in this country.
In speaking of the small amount of actual charitable work done by lodges in
[Wisconsin] . . . Bro. Nohl advised that while Masonic property is exempt from
taxation because of the supposedly charitable nature of the institution, he suggested
that the exact percentage of expenditure for charity be not disclosed to the tax
It is hardly fair to the Masons of Wisconsin that they should be singled out for such
criticism. The name of almost any other Jurisdiction might be substituted with a good
chance that the statements would remain substantially true - though there are
honorable exceptions. Most Grand Lodges have funds for benevolent purposes, but
generally the trustees guard it as the dragon did the golden apples of the fabled
Hesperides. Many Grand Lodges have Masonic Homes and like institutions, and
credit should be given for these. But how does the sum total spent in this way
compare with that spent, or owed, on costly temples and like self-indulgences?
A dreadful and pitiful story was related in the daily press recently, of a woman left a
widow with five children killing them all and herself because she could not keep
them. Her husband was a Mason. It is true that in this case his lodge could not be
blamed, for it was in a distant city and its members could hardly have known of their
brother's death, for she was too proud and sensitive to apply to them. But what of the
many cases that happen every year in our large lodges when a member's death is
discovered only when a notice is sent to him for the annual dues? Again it may be
said, and with justice, how are the officers and active members to know? But that is
just the point, for such a state of things is proof that Masonry is not functioning, that
it is suffering from a sort of elephantiasis, a deadly and disgusting disease. The lodge
originally was, and in theory still remains, a band of friends and brothers, knowing
each other intimately, ready to help and sympathize with each other, acquainted with
each other's affairs; it has become a huge institution, as impersonal (except in word
and form) as a joint stock corporation. If American Masonry is going to keep its
enormous overgrown lodges, it has got to develop some method or machinery within
them to carry out the primary purposes of the Fraternity. The trouble is one that
afflicts and has afflicted all societies grown large, and rich and powerful. The church
has suffered in the same way; countries and nations also. In our case the disease
might be diagnosed as fatty degeneration of the heart, and more strenuous exercise for
that organ is indicated.
* * *
THE Greek word Polis is usually rendered into English as city. It has behind it a long
and interesting history. In the first place it meant a citadel, a fortress. But not such a
fortress as is known in the art of civilized war (if there ever were such a thing) but a
defensible place of refuge. Primitive men were what anthropologists classify as "food
gatherers." They had no domesticated animals nor did they practice any form of
agriculture. A few peoples are still in this stage, notably the Australian aborigines.
Certain tribes, later to become peoples and nations, gradually struggled out of this
stage, and came to a parting of the ways - the differentiation typified in the Book of
Genesis by Cain and Abel. Cain was a tiller of the ground, Abel was a shepherd. The
agriculturist becomes naturally and inevitably a settler, a fixture in one locality. The
shepherd and herdsman is, also inevitably and naturally (in the first instance), a
nomad. Two habits of life were developed, at first on a level, but one with the
possibilities of further advance.
The nomad threatened by enemies took naturally to flight. All nomad races developed
fighting tactics based on flight with continual counter and flank attacks on the enemy.
To the sedentary agriculturists flight was ruin, it was to leave their wealth and
livelihood behind them, to begin life anew elsewhere, if possible. They therefore
under the pressure of necessity developed the fort, the entrenched and palisaded
camp. It was not a place to live in, but a place to retire to when attacked. From such
camps, found all over the world, the acropolis, the fort on a hill or mountain top, grew
up in ancient Greece and eventually became the city. And as the cities became
stronger it became the city state.
Politeia was what concerned the citizen. It came to include the city government and
its politics and its policies - its organization, constitution, its plans and aims. It is a far
cry from the primitive tiller of the soil dwelling near some place of refuge to the
politics of today, but the transition has been made. A policy is now not only a matter
of states and communities but of societies and corporations and even individuals, a
settled plan or rule of action, an aim to be consistently pursued.
The N.M.R.S. is a society, it has no politics, but does have both a polity, an
organization and a machinery, and also a policy, an aim or purpose. THE BUILDER
is an important link in the polity of the Society and through it the policy is furthered.
This policy, it may be redundant to repeat it, is to encourage both study and research
among Masons. The two things, though overlapping, are not precisely the same. By
the one what is already known is assimilated, by the other what is still unknown is
sought for, and it may be discovered.
The Editors of THE BUILDER are not infallible or omniscient, nor so foolish as to
try to appear so. They are students among others, they have their own interests and
presumably, their own prepossessions and prejudices. Fallible human beings cannot
avoid this. What however is possible to some extent is to act impartially. It has been
explained before that it is physically impossible to publish everything we receive. We
have to select as best we can what is of the greatest importance and general interest.
But, and we trust all will keep this in mind, once a subject has been broached, space
will always be found for those who take an opposing point of view. Controversy must
of course be kept within due bounds, but so long as any real contribution is being
made to the discussion the pages of THE BUILDER will be available. The magazine
belongs to the members of the Society and it is a their service always, within the
limitations of space, as a medium to convey their opinions, conclusions, or
information to others, and in respect to all this THE BUILDER'S sole policy is to be
— o —
THE NORTHEAST CORNER
Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F.&A.M.
MASONIC TEMPLE, ALBUQUERQUE, N. M.
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS
HERBERT B. HOLT, Past Grand Master, President
RICHARD H. HANNA, Vice-President
JAFFA MILLER, Vice-President
FRANCIS E. LESTER, Vice-President
WILBUR L. ELSER, Executive Secretary
ALPHEUS A. KEEN, Secretary
JOHN W. BOWMAN, Treasurer
ROBERT J. NEWTON, Editor, Manager N.M.T.S.A.. Las Cruces, New Mexico
El Paso Gets New Sanatorium
Under the above heading the El Paso Herald for June 22 last has the following:
The first Catholic national sanatorium will be located in El Paso.
Sisters of St. Joseph, with their motherhouse at Concordia, Kan., have taken an option
to purchase the old Baldwin sanatorium on Grandview street in the Highland Park
addition. The deal was negotiated by the Mortgage Investment Company. The
consideration was not given.
The property, in addition to the building, comprises nine acres.
It is planned to spend $75,000 in improvements, these being confined, for the most
part, to the exterior of the building and the grounds. Recently $45,000 was expended
on interior improvements. Rooms and hallways were refloored with oak; an entirely
new plumbing system was installed; every room was redecorated; screened porches
were glazed; new heating and kitchen equipment was added; the most modem type of
refrigeration was installed, with an ice water fountain on every floor.
In addition to landscaping, present plans call for changing the exterior of the building
to conform to a colonial style of architecture. Work will start shortly and it is hoped
to have the place open by Aug. 15, with 125 beds.
Dr. Orville Egbert will be the medical director.
According to Bishop A. J. Schuler, El Paso's sunshine influenced the sisters to make
When the plan for the purchase of the sanatorium originally was presented to the
order by Fr. Robert O'Loughran at Concordia, he explained Bishop Schuler's proposal
to make the proposed institution a national Catholic sanatorium. It was on this basis
the sisters decided to come here.
It has been figured that the property, consisting of nine acres, will be in keeping with
the proportions of the national sanatorium planned.
"The hospitals of the Sisters of St. Joseph are located in the wheat and corn belts of
the central states," said Dr. Egbert, "and, by the establishment of the sanatorium here,
it is expected to bring many patients to El Paso from regions from which this city has
not hitherto drawn."
The only other institution of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Southwest at this time is
an academy at Silver City, N. M.
Our readers will remember how, in the April number of THE BUILDER, there was a
description on this page of a great opportunity that had presented itself of buying a
sanatorium, ready built, for approximately the amount that had been recently spent in
repairs to the building. It seemed a heaven - sent opportunity. At a comparatively
small cost it would be possible to have had a National Masonic Sanatorium in
operation before the year was out. The prospect seemed too good to be true. The sum
required divided up among the different jurisdictions of the country amounted to an
almost negligible sum from each. Only a short time previously the meeting of the
Association in Chicago, at which so many representatives from all over the country
were present, had seemed to put the movement definitely upon its feet. Those present
had been greatly impressed with the need and with the work already done by the
executive of the Association. With this in mind it seemed as if it could require no
more than to bring this opportunity to the notice of the rulers and representatives of
the Craft to ensure that advantage would be taken of the option secured on these most
favorably situated buildings.
Bro. Herbert R. Holt, President of the Association and Past Grand Master of New
Mexico, sent out the following appeal:
"A tuberculosis sanatorium, located in a Southwestern city, will shortly be sold under
foreclosure proceedings," writes Mr. Holt. "The executive committee of our
Association has inspected it, and has determined to endeavor to purchase it, if the
necessary money can be secured. The institution can accommodate nearly 100
patients in the main building, which has recently been thoroughly repaired and
renovated, at a cost of about $50,000. Furniture and equipment, not including X-ray
and other medical equipment, will cost approximately $10,000. It is possible that we
may be able to secure the institution, furnished, for about $75,000.
"There will be no immediate need for any further expenditure for repair and
renovation of the main building. Later, when necessary, we can repair the other
buildings, which consist of a two-story brick, with 24 bed rooms and sleeping
porches, a four-room bungalow, four small cottages and a building for employees.
"There are approximately eleven acres of ground, and the property is located in a
large city which, for years, has been a Mecca for the tuberculous. There are two
advantages of locating in a city: first, the availability of a complete medical staff to
provide every necessary form of treatment for patients; and second, opportunities for
employment for wives and children of patients.
"We appeal to Masonic bodies and Masons everywhere to open the 'Door of Hope' to
our tuberculous brethren.
“Service units; the kitchen, dining rooms, etc.; patients' wards, bed rooms, sleeping
porches and beds, will be named for Masonic bodies and Masons who contribute the
proportionate part of their cost. By this plan of 'selling' some part of the Masonic
Sanatorium to many Masonic bodies and Masons, the total cost will be distributed so
that it will be easy for all to bear.
"Five years have been spent in discussion of this great problem of relief and
hospitalization of Masonic tuberculars, while many vainly hoping for help, have died.
If we, in our various Masonic organizations, and as individuals, will spend five
minutes in action, we can, through this institution, actually begin this great and
practical work of Masonic brotherhood."
This appeal fell on deaf ears, no response was made except from individual brethren.
The Door of Hope still remains fast locked for lack of the golden key. It seems hard
to believe but the sanatorium spoken of in Bro. Holt's appeal, is the same one as that
referred to in the El Paso Herald for June 22, last.
LAST December the Grand Lodge of Texas ordered the Committee on Masonic
Service and Education to make a survey to determine the actual situation in this state
with reference to the extent of tuberculosis among Masons and their families. That
survey having been made, Grand Master M. A. Childers called a conference of Grand
Lodge officers, and other representative members, to consider this very important
matter, and formulate such recommendations for the action of the Grand Lodge as
might seem feasible and practical.
This conference met at Kerrville June 3, and after many hours of earnest thought and
interchange of views, the following resolution was adopted: "Be it resolved by the
conference called by the Grand Master of Masons in Texas, to consider the matter of
tubercular relief in this state, we recommend to the Grand Master that he submit to
the various constituent lodges of the Grand Lodge of Texas, for their consideration,
an assessment of $ 1 per capita, said assessment fund to constitute a charity and relief
fund to be used to meet the present need, as disclosed by the survey of the Committee
on Masonic Service and Education."
This resolution was signed by A. A. Ross, of Lockhart, Past Grand Master; W. B.
Pearson, Grand Secretary; L. E. Tennison, of Clifton, chairman Grand Lodge Finance
Committee; W. S. Tate, of Hamilton, former chairman of the Grand Lodge
Committee on Work; H. F. Lively, of Dallas, Grand Junior Warden. Other brethren
present at the conference, and participating in the discussion and decision, were:
Judge M. A. Childers, of San Antonio, Grand Master; George Montgomery, of Fort
Worth, Deputy Grand Master; Col. Beaumont B. Buck, of San Antonio, Grand
Marshal; D.C. McCord, of Dallas, Grand Master of Grand Council; M. C. Vaughn, of
Hillsboro, chairman Grand Lodge Committee on Work; Lonnie Irvin, of San Antonio,
member of the Grand Lodge Committee on Work; Hon. James W. McClendon, of
Austin, head of the Masonic Service Association; W. B. Pearson, Grand Secretary;
Wilbur Keith, of Dallas, Executive Secretary of the Texas Masonic Service and
Education Committee; H. C. Talbot, Grand Treasurer, and Robert Bums, of Kenedy.
Bro. Bums was the only brother present who went on record as being opposed to the
$1 per capita assessment; all others present at the conference pledged their moral
support in favor of the adoption of the resolution.
Tabulation of the results of the survey, made by the Committee on Masonic Service
and Education, shows returns from 811 lodges in Texas, with 164 not reporting.
The total number of Texas Masons afflicted, according to the survey, is 297,
classified as follows: total needing assistance, 152; total not needing assistance, 92;
total not indicating, 53.
Families of Masons (wife, daughter, son) are classified as follows: total number
needing assistance, 45; total not needing assistance, 76; total not indicating, 22; total
families afflicted, 143.
The mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters of Masons are shown as follows: total
needing assistance, 24; total not needing assistance, 16; total not indicating, 2; total,
The total number of unafflicted children of afflicted Masons is reported as 264.
Sojourning Masons from foreign jurisdictions and their families, total afflicted, 57,
classified as follows: total number of sojourning Masons afflicted, 53; total Masons'
families afflicted, 4. A total of 36 unafflicted children of afflicted sojourning Masons
Speaking of the proposed assessment of $1 per capita, the Grand Master says: "The
assessment of $1 per member, to constitute a charity and relief fund, to be used in
assisting our brethren and members of their families, who are suffering from
tuberculosis, or other malignant or incurable diseases, will average scarcely more than
$600 for each person already reported in need of immediate aid, with 164 lodges yet
to be heard from. Some of these cases may be relieved with less money, while others
will require considerably more. Any less sum would be so grossly inadequate as to
render the service proposed ineffective. The need of a relief fund for our brethren and
their dear ones who are suffering from tuberculosis and other kindred malignant
diseases, in our Grand Jurisdiction, is daily growing more acute, and is presenting a
condition that is now challenging our spirit of generosity, and the sincerity of our
profession as Master Masons.
"To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all men, but particularly so on
Freemasons, who are linked together by an indissoluable chain of sincere affection.
To soothe the unhappy; to sympathize with their misfortunes; to compassionate their
miseries and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the grand aim we, as Masons,
have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our fraternal
In keeping with the conference resolution, the Grand Master has issued a
communication to be read at summoned meetings of all lodges in Texas, asking for
definite action on the following three alternate plans or propositions:
"First: Do you favor extending relief where needed to our brethren and members of
their families afflicted with tuberculosis, or other malignant or incurable diseases?
"Second: Do you favor a fee of $10 for each Master Mason's Degree conferred, plus
an assessment of 50 cents per member for their relief?
"Third: Do you favor, in lieu of all other plans suggested, an assessment of not
exceeding $1 per member for this relief?"
* * *
A MEDICAL ENDORSEMENT
In your issue for July you have an article on "An Appeal for the Tubercular," in which
I heartily agree with Bro. Behrens in everything he pleads for, and he is in a position
If every Mason could only see things as the medical man does - how hopeful and
enthusiastic the patients are, even in the worst stages, for their own recovery, and how
anxious and sacrificing the dependents and loved ones are from every standpoint!
That tuberculosis is curable in its early stages is demonstrated daily, so why not let us
get busy in a hurry and help all tubercular Masons and their families in a real
substantial and scientific and not in a haphazard way?
As Bro. Behrens says, "Keep up the good work for it is good; it is a burning need. In
time we will see the need and Masons Will not regret the doing."
A. F. Henke, M. D.
* * *
"HELPED DAUGHTER OF DEAD BROTHER"
Sister No. 97. Grand Lodge of Indiana. Daughter of deceased brother. Masonic Relief
Board of Indianapolis requested El Paso Relief Board to get in touch with girl and
"offer her all encouragement possible. From what we learn she has been advised by
the physician that her recovery is impossible." Investigation disclosed that patient had
been sent west by the Y.W.C.A., of which she was former employee, and that she was
receiving some help from them and other sources. Her physical condition was not as
serious as represented but the doctor advised complete rest for four months at least.
Her brother's home lodge gave necessary help to carry her through. Patient made a
fine recovery, secured employment and repaid the lodge all money advanced.
No. 9. Want dues paid. Unpaid for two or three years. Think he needs some. Let
insurance drop account of no funds. Wife and two children back home.
Wife wants work.
No. 10. Believe pride keeps him from asking for help.
* * *
Mr. H. C. Johnson, Lawrenceville, III.
"I personally think this a great move and one that should meet the approval of all
good Masons, as we have hundreds of brothers that are stricken with the White
Plague every year that haven't the means to go to a hospital in the Southwest for
treatment, and if we had an institution of the above character no doubt what it would
be the means of saving the lives of our dear brothers."
— o —
[This article supplements that which appeared in THE BUILDER for June, at page
187, and is from the same source. The writer has good reasons for withholding his
name. Unfortunately outside of the English speaking world, Masons too often find it
absolutely necessary to conceal their connection with the Craft.]
MASONRY played a very important part in the gradual development of Russia, more
especially so during the second part of the 18th century when the majority of those,
who were the pioneers of European civilization in the country, belonged to the
After Peter the Great, when Russia definitely took the course of a gradual blending
with the West, Masonry became the main channel for the penetration of ideas of
progress and civilization. This took place in the days of the Empress Elizabeth (1741-
1761), and still more so during the reign of Catherine II, when Masonry accomplished
a great and beautiful historical achievement.
Later on, after 1780, when Novikoff was the leader of Russian Masonry, it gradually
developed along the lines of Christian mysticism; this was the result of the great
success, which German Rosicrucianism and after wards Martinism, together with the
higher degrees of Swedish Masonry, had gained among the educate classes of
After the French revolution, the Russian Government began to look with suspicion on
all secret societies particularly on F.M. In 1792, drastic measures followed. Novikoff
was imprisoned and F. M. in fact ceased to exist. The Blue Lodges, anyhow, were
It is only after Alexander I ascended the throne that we see, in 1805, a revival of Craft
Masonry, and in 1810 it received official, though not public, recognition, and was
even to a certain extent patronized by the Government. Nearly all the ministers
belonged to different lodges in St. Petersburg, and undoubtedly Masonic ideas had a
great influence during the period of liberal reforms by which Alexander I inaugurated
his reign; unfortunately, after the wars with Napoleon were over, Alexander I's
liberalism was changed to reaction. He founded the Holy Alliance, joined the society
of New Israel, and his very mysticism took a reactionary form. In all this we may
with great probability suspect the work of the Jesuits, who, after Frederic II of
Prussia, greatly influenced German Rosicrucianism towards reaction. A fact now
proved by history.
Masonry in Russia began to work against these reactionary tendencies and in the
attempt to bring on a revolution in December, 1924, the majority of the leaders were
Masons. This attempt completely failed, and the results were disastrous. Masonry was
completely forbidden in 1826. A few Masons escaped imprisonment and exile, and
they even sometimes met in secret. Lodges, but Masonry, as an organization, ceased
to exist and could not have any further influence in the life of the country. The fact,
anyhow, remains that nearly for a whole century Masonic ideas permeated different
classes of Russian society, and it is interesting to see that the Russian national
character itself always meets these ideas with the greatest sympathy. This is very
noticeable in the higher and more educated classes.
THE PRESENT SITUATION
After the revolution of March, 1917, the best elements of Russian society remained in
opposition to the Bolshevik Government, because it endeavors to destroy all
intellectual culture, considering it a bourgeois superstition, has in the same time
openly and definitely replaced the idea of right by violence and has officially
proclaimed religion to be a counter revolutionary principle, waging a merciless war
against it, not only as a church, or a creed, but even as an idea or a feeling.
Under this condition the sympathy towards Masonic ideas, which had always existed,
very naturally came again to light and found its expression in a revival of Russian
Freemasonry. The hospitality of French Masonry of the Scottish Rite helped a great
deal in this revival, and so did also the broad ideas of the Rite. The Supreme Council
of France understood very well the important part which Masonry will have to play in
future Russia, and assisted those Russian Masons, who have gradually created a
young but sufficiently strong Russian Masonic organization in France under the
Supreme Council and the Grand Lodge of the country.
At the present moment four Russian lodges working in Russian exist, also a Lodge of
Perfection and a Rose Croix Chapter, all of which work in Russian the rituals of
Scottish Rite Masonry. The Grand Lodge of France and the Supreme Council have
both granted great freedom to the different Russian lodges, working under their
jurisdiction, with the result that even now in the Russian Masonry in Paris the
peculiarities of the Russian nationality are very noticeable, and it is a faithful
reproduction of what purely Russian Freemasonry was in the older days. It has again
a certain religious tendency, but absolutely free of any dogmatism, and without any
difference between creeds or races. The idea of striving for moral perfection is very
strong and equite natural for mystical Russians. The volume of the Sacred Law is
always on the altar of the meetings of every lodge, and the work is usually the study
of the deeper meaning of Freemasonry. On the whole, the distinguishing
characteristics of Russian Masonry are: moral improvement, absolute recognition of
the principles of personal liberty, liberty of conscience and equality. The feeling of
brotherhood is very strong as a natural consequence of the difficult moral and
material conditions, in which the Russian emigrants have to live. Russian Masons
fully understand what an enormous task awaits them, when their country will again
have a normal government and will return to the ordinary conditions of political and
economical life. Only a strong Masonic organization morally healthy and full of
enthusiasm will be able to work for the restoration of morality and intellectual culture
so utterly undermined in Russia. It will have to assemble in its ranks all those
elements who have still retained some moral strength and direct them in the
reconstruction of Russian society. It will have to repeat perhaps, under more
unfavorable conditions, what the Russian Masons of the 18th century so successfully
did. Those Masons, who developed civilization in Russia, and gradually created that
peculiar national culture which so often astonished Europe and America but gained
praise and admiration.
But the work will be many times difficult because Masonry will not only have to
create, it will have also to destroy. It will have to destroy all the evil results of the
Bolshevik rule, and the longer this rule lasts the worse it will be. The true ideas of
liberty will have to take the place of violence and oppression, called proletarian
dictatorship; moral ideas will have to be developed instead of the coarse material
instincts which are at the base of the actual system in Russia.
It is impossible to foresee at the present moment what the future forms of government
in Russia will be. They will certainly be based on the will of the nation, and on
democratic principles, but when Bolshevism comes to an end, before new forms of
government are solidly established, it is very possible that the country will pass
through a period of reaction, and here Masonry will perhaps have a great work to do
to moderate and soften the transitory period.
Russian Masonry, not only in its work but even in its innermost tendencies, has no
special political creeds. People with very different political ideas meet in the
brotherly atmosphere of pure Masonry and unite in the desire of realizing Masonic
principles in the social and national life of Russia for the triumph of liberty, equality
and brotherhood. Whatever form of government the Russian nation will establish,
Masonry will heartily work for the welfare of the country. Though Russian Masons in
France are not very numerous, their organization is being gradually completed, both
in the Blue Lodges and in the high degrees. The four Craft lodges are ruled by a
committee which in fact represents the future Grand Lodge of Russia. The Lodge of
Perfection works in close contact with the Rose Croix Chapter. In conformity with the
wish, expressed by the Covenant of Lausanne in 1922, the Supreme Council of
France has sanctioned the existence of a temporary committee in the higher degrees,
which represents the nucleus of a future Supreme Council for Russia of the Scottish
— o —
The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of
the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices are
subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this
will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where books are privately
printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in
the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any
subject, and will make an inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
GLORY. By Leonie Amino ff. Published by E. P. Dutton & Company, New York.
Cloth, 426 pages. Price, $2.65.
THIS work forms the seventh volume in a series of twelve Napoleonic romances
designed to follow in detail the varying fortunes of the Little Corsican. Judging solely
from the present work it can be reasonably assumed that the series as a whole is
designed to present a character sketch of the leading figure rather than to furnish the
fascinating entertainment that might be possible with such a hero. It is interesting to
contrast in imagination the differences between the author of Glory and Sabatini. The
startling rapidity of movement which characterizes the man who might be termed the
foremost living author of historical fiction is totally lacking in Aminoff. So far as
movement is concerned the present work is funereal in character and Glory is not a
book to be recommended to those who read solely for the plot.
The period depicted in this seventh volume is one of great interest, being the events
preceding Napoleon's coronation and the military struggles which culminated in
Austerlitz. We see the Emperor surrounded with a court of impossible nobility and we
are much amused by the petty jealousies which animate many of them. The imperial
dinner party at Montefontaine is an amusing bit of characterization of the retinue of
Napoleon. Overshadowing all such events is the supreme ego possessing the Emperor
of the French. The skill with which he manages to occupy the center of the stage,
even when the Pope is his rival for attention, shows perhaps more clearly than
anything else in the book the true nature of its leading figure.
One of the pleasures of reading romances of bygone days is to be able to enter into
the spirit of the times, to live with the characters and enjoy life as they must have
done or to suffer trials and tribulations when these fell to them. For some reason it is
not possible to fall into the spirit of the present work, possibly due to a particularly
irritating practice of the author in bringing present day thoughts into a century old
atmosphere. It is most distracting to find one's self deeply engrossed in a certain event
and then have the train of your thoughts rudely interrupted by a discourse from a
present day human. Never is one allowed to forget for more than fifteen minutes at a
time that he is reading a book of fiction - a great mistake and a most annoying one.
Aside from the fact that one does see Napoleon at the height of his glory the book is
E. E. T.
* * *
THE BRIDGE TO FRANCE. By Edward N. Hurley. Published by J.B. Lippincott
Company, Philadelphia. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, index, 338 pages. Price,
ALMOST a decade has passed since the cessation of hostilities on Nov. 11 1918. In
spite of that fact there are certain terms which bring to mind different aspects of the
war. Those of us who lived through the stirring years from 1914-1918 will always
remember the Marne, Ypres, Soissons, Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel, the Argonne, and
countless other names of like significance. Those words will to many bring back
actual experiences. To those who remained on this side of the Atlantic there are other
names whose significance is apparent. Occupying a position in the front rank of
domestic, war nomenclature, if I may call it such, is Hog Island. Doubtless this brings
to mind much that is not pleasant. For example, we cannot help but see the pictures of
ships rotting in the harbors with which the papers were filled a few years ago. We
recall the unpleasant criticism that accompanied the cancellation of ship building
contracts. Cries of protest against the wastage that apparently followed upon the close
of the war arose. Even more insistent were the condemnations of various departments
of the government for the promiscuity with which they spent money during the war.
The Shipping Board came in for its share of the criticism, and it was quite generally
believed that this organization had contracted for ships for which there would be no
use and which were totally unnecessary. Few Americans, aside from those in official
circles, realized the problem which confronted the American Government in
transporting and maintaining an army across three thousand miles of ocean, a large
portion of which was infested by enemy submarines. If there were few who realized
the problem then there are no more who understand the difficulties now. On the
surface it seems comparatively simple. Approximately three weeks are required for a
round trip between New York and Le Havre at the present time. All that was
necessary was to develop a line of ships reaching across the Atlantic sufficient in
number to transport three weeks' supplies for an army.
The problem takes on a different aspect when we consider that the program called for
80 divisions in the A.E.F. - approximately 2,500,000 men; that the country proposing
to maintain this army had practically no ships of its own; that the need was urgent and
the men had to be transported as quickly as possible; that troop ships, cargo ships,
hospital ships and warships were required; that even railroad lines had to be
constructed in France, that cars and locomotives had to be sent abroad to carry the
supplies from the coast to the front; that ships cannot be built in a day; there are
myriads of other considerations.
Everyone who reads Mr. Hurley's book will become convinced that the problem was
a Herculean task and that we were fortunate in solving it as efficiently as we did. The
work is a splendid tribute to the ingenuity of the American people and should be read
by every thinking American.
* * *
FROM SERFDOM TO BOLSHEVISM. The Memoirs of Baron N. Wrangel.
Published by the J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia. Cloth table of contents 324 pages.
THE period of transition in Russia is seemingly far from completion. There are
doubtless many difficulties that will have to be solved before Russia will again be in a
settled state. Baron Wrangel, in the present book, tells many first-hand stories of the
conditions which led up to the turbulent period which saw its most violent expression
in the years between 1917 and 1920. The book does not profess to be an
autobiography and it cannot be listed in that category. It is a collection of stories
arranged loosely in chronological order and which furnish us with a first-hand picture
of the country and its people.
A brief account of the life of Baron Wrangel will give an inferential picture of the
stories he tells in a clearer manner than might otherwise be possible. This Russian
nobleman was born in 1 847 and saw the last days of serfdom on his father's estate. He
was sent to Geneva for his education and spent some years in the administrative
machinery of the Russia Empire in Poland and later as an officer in the Imperial
Horse-guards. He was concerned in business and held executive rank in many
important enterprises during later life. He was in 'Russia during the various stages of
the revolution and in the course of his varied career knew almost everyone worth
knowing in Petrograd and in official circles.
His book is devoted to vivid, amusing and often startling stories of such characters as
the Jewish banker Rothstein, and Skobeloff, the "White General" of the Turkish wars,
who was always in conflict with the authorities. His character sketches of Nicholas II,
Prime Minister Witte, Rasputin, and others, show a keen insight on human nature.
His style, while not that of a professional writer (though in some measure this may be
due to the translators), is rapid, vivid and shows what might be called a remarkable
change of pace. He has a faculty for description that is quite distinctive; there is also a
certain pathetic type of humor, engendered perhaps by his own sorrows; but above all
a sarcasm, when he chooses to use it, which makes one shudder for those who at any
time may have received a tongue lashing from him.
The book is not only interesting and entertaining reading, but educational as well.
Those who are interested in Russia cannot afford to miss it, and those who would like
to know about Russia and its revolution without reading large and heavy volumes,
can find just the account they want between the covers of From Serfdom to
* * *
WITCHCRAFT AND THE BLACK ART. A Book Dealing with the Psychology and
Folklore of the Witches. By J. W. Wickwar. Published by Herbert Jenkins. Cloth,
table of contents, index, 320 pages. Price, $1.50.
THE author has given a very readable, if in places somewhat gruesome, account of
this obscure subject. As it is written for the general reader we perhaps have no right to
quarrel with it for lacking bibliographical references, especially as most of the sources
of information are rare books and most of them in languages not "understanded of the
people," which considering the character of some of their contents is possibly just as
well. However it is a little curious that the author should make no mention of Miss
Murray's work, The Witch Cult, especially as in places he goes directly counter to her
conclusions and reverts to the older ideas on the subject.
From the time of Reginald Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft the tide may be said to
have turned. It was however then at full flood - King James ordered the book to be
burnt by the common hangman and wrote his Daemonologie to refute it.
Nevertheless, though for another century and more, witch trials and witch executions
continued, yet, more and more, educated and intelligent people began to turn against
the idea until, in the eighteenth century, it was all relegated to the limbo of exploded
superstitions; and there it remained until the rise of scientific anthropology, scarcely
more than forty or fifty years ago, brought out the fact that witchcraft, or evil- working
magic, was still being practiced among primitive and barbarous peoples all over the
world. The difference between medicine men, shamans, witch doctors and all that ilk,
and the witches and wizards they combatted, is rather a difference of regularity or
legality than of method and theory. The official magic is practiced for, and on behalf
of, the whole community; private magic or witchcraft is practiced by individuals for
their own benefit, usually to the harm of others. All this has now long been accepted.
Miss Murray went a step further and made out a strong case for supposing that
mediaeval witchcraft was survival from very primitive times. This was perhaps hardly
new idea, but what was novel was the development of the thesis that it had survived
in a definitely organized form, that the witch-cult was really a religion as the Tuscan
witches, according to Cleland, always call it la recchia religione, the old religion.
Mr. Wickwar begins, it would almost seem, as if he accepted this position. His first
chapter is headed, "Witchcraft: A Primitive Cult," and in the second, he discusses the
initiation into the cult and other ceremonials, in all of which he seems to agree with
Miss Murray. But when in chapter four he comes to discuss "Practical Witchcraft," he
seems to swing right round to the earlier incredulous attitude and apparently takes the
rather inconsistent position that those accused of witchcraft were not witches after all,
that they were innocent and harmless individuals who were only accused by reason of
the ignorance, malice and superstition of their neighbors, and condemned the same
reasons by their judges.
Perhaps he has unconsciously confused two ideas under the one word. We may agree
with him that there is no reality in magic, and that all the fantastic and oftentimes
disgusting paraphernalia of witchcraft was pure superstition; but it is necessary to
distinguish between this aspect of the subject and the question whether those accused
of this offense did or did not practice witchcraft.
Most of us, if we heard that someone who had a grudge against us had made a wax
image and stuck pins in it with the idea of causing us to feel pains, and perhaps to
pine away and die, would be only amused. We would not feel amused if we suspected
they were contaminating our milk with typhoid germs. But we believe in germs and
do not believe in magic. If the reverse was the case, if everyone in the community
believed in magic, then to practice it is a crime. And if the community knows nothing
of microbes, or does not believe in them, then to sell typhoid infected or tubercular
milk is not a crime.
So far as the witch trials were concerned they were conducted very much on the same
lines as other trials were. Procedure was very much against the accused in any case,
and doubtless many people suffered who were accused out of malice. When a whole
community is in a panic stricken state, acts of injustice almost inevitably occur - we
have seen instances of that in our own day.
But having allowed for this inconsistency in the author's treatment of the subject, it
must be said that he has written a very interesting and readable book; and to those
who wish to obtain a general idea of the nature of mediaeval witchcraft and the more
notable cases, and the gradual change in sentiment, finally reflected in modified laws,
it can be fully recommended.
* * *
MACKEY'S JURISPRUDENCE OF FREEMASONRY. Revised by Robert I. Clegg.
Published by the Masonic History Company, Chicago, 111. Cloth, table of contents,
index, 403 pages. Price, $3.65.
SUCH a well-known work scarcely needs more notice than an announcement that a
new edition is ready. It is gratifying to see that the reviser has adopted the practice of
preserving Dr. Mackey's text and including his revision in a different type. It would
be well if this practice would be adopted by editors generally; at least the necessity
for scholars looking up originals would be eliminated and much time and trouble
What is sadly needed at the present time is a consolidated history of the development
of Masonic law. We hope that some earnest scholar will decide to make this his next
THE STORY OF LINDBERGH, THE LONE EAGLE. By Richard J. Beamish.
Published by the John C. Winston Co., Philadelphia. Cloth, table of contents,
illustrated, 288 pages.
THE advertisement of this book says that "Richard J. Beamish, in The Story of
Lindbergh, the Lone Eagle, tells the story with a completeness of detail that reads like
a romance.” He does, but he is not very much more accurate as to facts than most
romances. The book is good entertainment and worth reading, as one would read any
tale of adventure.
* * *
NEW BOOKS RECEIVED
The Logic of Modern Physics. By P. W. Bridgman, published by The Macmillan Co.,
New York. Price, $2.65.
History of Freemasonry. By H. L. Haywood and J. E. Craig, published by The John
Day Company, New York. Price, $3.20. The Rise of American Civilization (2 vols.).
By Mary R. and Chas. A. Beard, published by The Macmillan Company, New York.
— o —
THE QUESTION BOX
FLORIDA AND THE 1842 CONVENTION
Through your columns I wish to thank Bro. Philip C. Tucker of Florida for his
complimentary remarks concerning my articles on "The Effects of Anti-Masonry on
the Masonic Fraternity" which recently appeared in THE BUILDER. I also desire to
express my appreciation to him for his statements in regard to Florida's representation
at the Masonic National Conventions of 1842 and 1843. It was in the hope of securing
such additional information that Bro. Tatsch and I published our material on anti-
Masonry in periodicals before issuing our contemplated book on the subject.
Bro. Tucker said, "I notice one minor fact that Bro. Eriksson omitted, not that it is of
much consequence (except for historical accuracy), that is, that the Grand Lodge of
Florida was not in attendance at the convention of 1842. Bros. J.P. Duval, P.G.M.,
and J.G. Jones were delegated from this lodge, and in 1843 Bro. Thomas Hayward
attended as a delegate." In my article in the April BUILDER I cited ten Grand Lodges
which were represented at the convention of 1842. This information was gleaned
from a report of the convention contained in the Proceedings ... of the Grand Lodge
of Virginia . . . 1842, in which nothing was found concerning the presence of Florida
delegates. My conclusion, based on Bro. Tucker's letter and the report mentioned, is
that Florida elected delegates but that they did not appear at the convention. I would
be glad to have Bro. Tucker cite sources so we may incorporate his information in our
Bro. Tucker is quite right in mentioning that Florida was represented at the
convention of 1843 by Thomas Hayward. I did not think it would contribute anything
to the article to list the fifteen Grand Lodges which were represented in 1843, though
the delegates are named in a report of the convention contained in the Virginia
Proceedings of 1 843 .
Erik McKinley Eriksson, Iowa.
MANKIND AND THE DEITY
Simon Peter, in the house of Cornelius, said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no
respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh
righteousness is accepted with Him." It had not occurred to me that it was necessary
for a 320 Scottish Rite Mason to declare that be was in accord with Peter's statement.
I may say further that as a Methodist preacher I am in accord with Paul, who wrote to
the Romans, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God
hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the
world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made even His eternal
power and Godhead."
Mankind has never been without the knowledge of the true God. Abraham was not
separated from his kindred to give Monotheism to the world, but that through him and
his posterity that primitive revelation which was being corrupted might be preserved
and increased. Abimelech, King of Gerar, and Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest
of the Most High God, were men associated with Him in the Old Testament story.
But it was a faith that was dying out; and when we come to the end of the career of
Moses we have no hint of any successor of Abimelech or Melchizedek. The only
trace we find of that earlier faith is a torch going out in the darkness, Balaam, a
backsliding prophet who loved the wages of unrighteousness, who was slain with the
sword in the war against the Midianites.
The great religions of the world have ever been loftier intellectually and nobler
morally in their beginnings than in their later history. Buddhism and
Mohammedanism are striking illustrations of this.
Man never discovered God. He is known only as He has revealed Himself to men.
The only revelation of God that is worth much to the world today we find in the Bible
and on this Freemasonry is founded.
The greatness of Confucius and Buddha is not to be questioned, but neither claimed
to know anything about God. They dealt only with human conditions and relations.
While it may be that Sir Edwin Arnold idealized Buddha to some extent hi his "Light
of Asia," yet he undoubtedly stands out as the noblest and most pathetic figure the Far
East has given to the world. His view of life was pessimistic. A. W. Wilson, in his
"Abode of Snow," says of him, "It was his profound sense of the misery and
worthlessness of life which drove Gautama Buddha from his throne into the jungle,
which underlies all the meaning of religion which he founded, and which finds
forcible expression in the Buddhist hymn, All is transitory, all is misery, all is void,
all is without substance.' His Nirvana is well expressed in Sir Edwin Arnold's gnostic
figure, 'The dewdrop slips into the shining sea.' The bubble bursts on the surface of
the strain and the individual life is merged with the great source and center of all
being." The oldest church the writer knows is Notre Dame, in Paris. In it he saw
nothing obscene. That Christianity is much discredited by the unchristian living of
men and women who have gone into Pagan from so-called Christian lands, is
notorious. An African chieftain sent this message to the Archbishop of Canterbury,
"Great and Good Chief of the Tribe of Christ, the humblest of thy servants kisses thy
feet and begs, send us more Gospel and less Rum." That Rome has, in heathen lands,
done many things that were cruel and lustful, may be granted, but I am not prepared
to admit that such a charge can lie against the Protestant denominations that are
conducting the great missionary operations of today in the heathen world. "I am from
Missouri, show me."
C. H. Briggs.
* * *
The general drift of the interesting article by Bro. House in the June number of THE
BUILDER is to assert such a conception of Masonry as is compatible only with the
Christian faith. It seems to me there are objections to this position on broad grounds
as well as in detail in regard to some of the arguments used to support it.
The broad grounds of objection lie in the fact that many men following non-Christian
religions have been and are accepted into Masonry. It would almost seem that the
author classes Judaism and Christianity together; but this seems illegitimate. Many
things can be found in the Judaic scriptures of the Old Testament that as understood
by the Hebrews of the times referred to, and even as understood by Jews today, would
be open to the same objections he alleges against the other great „ethical" religions,
such as Islam, Buddhism and the rest. In other words, the Old Testament must be
interpreted in a Christian sense to fit in with his scheme. I do not wish to be
understood as here expressing any opinion as to the justification for so doing, I
merely wish to make the point that the Jewish conception is not the Christian; yet
there are thousands of Jews accepted into the Order. In the same way have
Mohammedans, Buddhists,. Sikhs and followers of Confucius been accepted, and
though not in very large numbers yet sufficiently to show that in actuality and
practice the Craft is more inclusive than Bro. House's position would logically allow.
It would seem in fact that he has made the common error of judging other religions by
their worst features, and his own by its best. This may be comforting to the individua
e lever, but does not lead to a true judgment of the situation.
It is not entirely meaningless that the most commonly used Mohammedan term for
God is "The Most Merciful." That the Hebrews did not believe it right to love their
enemies we have the authority of Christ Himself when He said, "Ye have heard that it
hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy," and went on to
lay down the new law in opposition to this. How was this old law worse than Plato's
dictum that justice included doing hurt to enemies, a saying which would be
somewhat modified in meaning in its proper context. Was it not held to be the duty of
all soldiers in the late war to do what hurt they could to their enemies? The essentials
are in no way changed by substituting personal enmities for national ones, for in
Plato's time every individual quarrel involved the families of the participants, and the
family (as today among barbarous and primitive peoples) was a war making unit. If
two families, one in Sparta and another in Athens, had a bond of hospitality between
them, it was quite recognized that members of such families should avoid each other
in battle, or even help each other; which from the strictly national point of view might
be regarded as treason, while from that of humanitarianism it would make an
approach to a limited kind of Freemasonry.
The only people who lived up to the principles laid down by Bro. House in the Great
War were the conscientious pacifists - there were some. I do not wish to take too
much space, but must say that it seems as if one striking and inescapable conclusion
to be drawn from the Third Degree (I admit it is never enlarged upon) is that we
should ruthlessly revenge deadly injuries, and should not live in the same world with
our enemies - when able to send them to another. In the American ritual I believe this
is even more insistently exhibited than in ours. If Bro. House will here abide by the
ordinary conventions that this was justice, then he has no claim to condemn the
conventions of other peoples that make it a duty to support one's family in a private
war, or to resent and fight about certain classes of insults and injuries.
To sum up, it seems to me that Bro. House has read a great deal more into
Freemasonry than is properly there. We are obligated to assist Brother Masons, we
are only recommended to help the rest of the world. It is a Mason's duty to maintain
brotherly love within the Craft, there is no duty of obligation to be at peace with the
rest of the world. Masonry obliges us to a limited circle of duties, to love our
brethren, in short. It exhorts and recommends the extension of this love to all
mankind, but it does not make it obligatory in the same absolute sense. I submit,
therefore, that the Masonic code is not equivalent to that of Christianity, but one on
the level of the religions that Bro. House puts (and I believe rightly) on a lower plane.
C. C. M., Canada.
* * *
THE CHISEL AND DIAMOND
The authors of the article very much regret having disturbed Bro. F. G. G. as
apparently they did. In strict truth we had not the faintest notion that anyone would
find the passages we criticized worthy of defense, once the defects were pointed out.
Bro. F. G. G. has, however, apparently mistaken in some respects what we intended
to say. We do not understand just what it was that gave him the impression that we
confused the gavel (mason's or waller's hammer as it is now called) with the mallet.
There are many varieties of hammers and mallets employed in different trades, but all
are alike in respect to their being implements of impact, for striking. There are a
number of different forms of the hammer used in stone work, spalling hammers,
scabbling hammers, mash hammers, bush hammers and others; and these again may
all have other names in different places. Most of them are used directly on the stone,
as the axe, adze and hatchet are used on wood. The mallet is used only with a chisel,
point or punch or similar tool. We explained the difference earlier in the article, at
page 153, where, as we thought, we clearly pointed out the difference between them.
In regard to finishing the surface of wrought stone this is done in various ways as we
noted in the article in the April BUILDER. The bush hammer (or "claw" tool) is used
very generally on hard stone. On free stone a chisel, the edge of which is broken by a
series of V-shaped indentations, is often employed. This tool leaves a series of
parallel ridges like the bush hammer, but bolder and more regular in appearance. The
finishing is sometimes done with a pick, point or pricket, as in what in England is
sometimes called "sparrow-pecked" work. Smooth work is of course finished by
rubbing with a piece of stone, and polishing is done by means of various abrasives. It
is unnecessary to go into details.
We do not know if Bro. F. G. G. is speaking from experience or observation when he
says that sometimes the chisel is pushed instead of struck with the mallet. It would
have to be on exceedingly soft stone to be of any effect. In carving the sculptor may
use all methods of finishing, including rubbing and scraping. But if scraping with a
chisel it would naturally be done by holding it in both hands. To press it with the
mallet would be so unhandy and inefficient that it is difficult for us to imagine anyone
ever attempting it. But as technique varies so much not only in different places but
also with the idiosyncrasies of the individual that we are willing to accept the
statement, only even so, it is such an exceptional use of the tool, that we do not think
that it should be taken as typical, as it is in the phrase we criticized.
There are many forms of tools, gouges, drifts, punches, drills, as well as chisels, that
are used chiefly by being struck with a hammer or mallet. They all have this in
common that the working surface is formed at one end of the body of the tool, and the
force supplied by blow or impact at the other end. In this sense such tools are all in
the same class. But a chisel, properly speaking, has a cutting edge transverse to the
axis of the tool, while "knife" tools of various kinds have an edge parallel to the axis.
The ordinary usage of the English language also quite sharply distinguishes an edge
from a point. Nevertheless technical terms frequently vary a great deal from ordinary
usage and we have looked the matter up to see if a chisel were ever said to have a
point. We found several instances of this use in one technical handbook, but it seems
likely from the context that this is no evidence of genuine technical usage but is due
to the carelessness of the author in writing.
The New English Dictionary gives no support to any such usage. This work covers
both dialect and old and obsolete forms. Several pages are devoted to the word point,
and considerable space to chisel. The only thing possibly favorable is the term
"chisel-pointed" given as one of several examples of combination which are not
explained. The only application of chisel-point or chisel-pointed we remember is to a
mode of sharpening drawing pencils for ruling sometimes employed by draughtsmen.
We may be also here permitted to note the interesting fact that the technical work
above mentioned, The Practical Stonecutter, by F. T. Hodgson, gives the term
"boaster" as the name for a special kind of chisel. The usage did not seem fixed, but
in view of the fact that "boasted" is a form of "broached" this survival of the term
"boaster" in America is interesting, even if it is no longer applied to a "broach" or
With the opinion expressed by Bro. F. G. G. that the first quotation does refer to an
actual diamond we are in hearty accord. Our point precisely was that those who
framed this ritual (circa 1750 possibly) had in so doing preserved an old tradition of
which the meaning had been lost. Some may judge this transference justifiable
symbolically speaking, that is a matter of opinion. Our criticism was not of its
interpretation and moral teaching but of the confusion of the technique of the lapidary
with that of the mason. Diamonds from certain parts of the world are often cased in a
matrix of other mineral substances from which they must first be freed. But the
implements used for this purpose and for "cleaving" or splitting off thin flakes along
the planes of crystallization are not chisels but knife-shaped tools with a blunt edge,
and are struck on the back not with a mallet or hammer but with a short rod of iron or
steel. The cutting of a diamond is done by means of another diamond or by a wheel
charged with diamond dust, and it has never been done in any other way for the
excellent and compelling reason that nothing but a diamond is hard enough to cut a
diamond. There is in fact no analogy between the craft of the mason and the lapidary
except of the vaguest and most tenuous kind, and we hope we may be pardoned if we
still continue to think it would have been better to have kept diamond cutting out of
the ritual altogether.
A. L. K. and R. J. M.